Yum Brands Gets an Analyst Boost

Yum Brands

(YUM) - Get Report

shares are up today after Argus Research upgraded the shares to a buy and a $37 price target.

The analyst believes the company will have better operating margins as it should benefit from lower commodity prices as well as further China growth.

We have avoided shares of Yum since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $37.89. The company has a 2.01% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $29.91. The company does have technical support in the $20 to $22 area if shares hit any bumps in the road. The company does have initial overhead resistance in the $33 to $35 area. We prefer a stock like

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

in the fast-food sector.

Yum Brands is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars.

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Huntsman Gets the Last of the $1 Billion Settlement

Huntsman

(HUN) - Get Report

announced it has received the final $425 million payment from affiliates of Apollo Management LP as part of its settlement for its failed merger with Apollo's Hexion Specialty Chemicals.

With today's payment, the settlement for $1 billion has been reached. The company had received a termination fee of $325 million on Dec. 19 and a further $250 million four days later for 10-year convertible notes.

The shares of Huntsman have not been able to recover since the drubbing, following the announcement of the settlement. We were still not sure why the company did not go through the trial that was set, as it had been winning several pretrial judgments. We would follow the market's lead here and avoid the shares until we see any sense that buyers feel like coming back.

Huntsman is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Weyerhaeuser Finds No Buyers for Freighters

Weyerhaeuser

(WY) - Get Report

announced late Monday that it has stopped trying to sell its seven ocean-going freighters.

The company blames current market conditions as well as a decrease in demand for its maritime shipping services. The company does plan to sell four regional short-line railroads. The railroad business has held up better as there is a strong demand in transporting commodities, and an ability to fetch higher prices.

We have avoided shares of Weyerhaeuser since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $58.23. The company will now have a dividend yield of 3.34%, based on the lowered payout and last night's closing stock price of $29.95. This company has been another name that has been featured so often as a top value play, and today it is hitting investors that believed in the label extremely hard. We see technical support for the stock in the $23 to $24 area -- and would continue to avoid the shares at this current time.

Weyerhaeuser is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars.

El Paso Selling Assets, Hoping to Raise Liquidity and Share Price

El Paso

( EP) announced late Monday that it has it raised $275 million from a series of asset sales.

The company has already surpassed its initial goals of selling $150 million of non-core assets by mid-2009. The company's pipeline group plans to spend $1.7 billion, while its exploration arm is expected to spend about $1.3 billion, which in total is less than the $3.5 billion spent in 2008.

We had removed El Paso from our "Recommended" dividend stocks list on Aug. 1, when shares were trading at $17.93. The company currently has a 2.82% dividend yield, based on last night's closing price of $7.10. The stock has long-term technical support in the $5 area. If that fails to hold, there isn't much support after that. If shares can stabilize and begin to move higher, the $10 area is where overhead resistance would come into play. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities.

El Paso is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.