took its global sales numbers down Monday, mostly because of a weakening North American car market. The vehicle sales plan for this year is now 9.5 million units, down from the 9.85 million the company had recently forecast.
Despite the bad headlines, the carmaker is still on track to sell more vehicles than it did last year. In the U.S., Toyota plans to sell 2.44 million vehicles, less than the earlier prediction of 2.64 million. The company is the world's second-largest automaker in annual vehicles sales, behind
Shares of Toyota are down nearly 30% in the last year, and we are slowly becoming interested. The company has a dividend yield of 2.43%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $91.92. We'll keep everyone posted as to when we believe the risk/reward for owning shares becomes favorable.
Toyota is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.
Lufkin Industries: Will the Profit Pump Turn Off?
( LUFK) has been reaping substantial profits from the recent oil bull market. Specifically, the company's manufacturing division has seen record performance.
The manufacturing division is equipped to transport and repair pumping units, as well as refurbish used pumping units. The division also builds and installs various computer-control equipment and analytical services for the pumping units.
Lufkin's stock is up nearly 50% in the past year, and for now, we think investors can and should hold the shares. At the same time, investors need to be aware that a lengthy oil-price correction could turn things south in a hurry. We will be watching the shares and monitoring the news flow for any signs that profits might be in danger. Lufkin Industries has a dividend yield of 1.14%, based on Friday's closing stock price of $87.38.
Lufkin is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.
Strayer Education: Higher 'Earning'
gave investors another solid quarter of earnings results last week. The for-profit education company's management also presented optimistic third-quarter guidance for earnings to come in between 79 cents and 81 cents a share, which is above the consensus estimates of 75 cents.
Enrollment at Strayer University for the 2008 summer term rose 20% to 34,176 students. The company has developed a solid niche by focusing on attracting working adults to their educational programs. Students are able to structure classes and online programs around their work schedules. The company has been a good stock to own, rising over 40% in the last 12 months.
For investors, we think the shares are a solid investment play, but would prefer to buy the stock on pullbacks, especially since shares ran up when the company reported. Strayer Education has a 0.68% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $219.24.
Strayer Education is a "Recommended" dividend stock, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.
Simon Property Group: Shopping for Better Earnings
Simon Property Group
, one of the world's largest mall operators, raised the low end of its projected range for funds from operations after reporting its quarterly earnings. The company expects to report between $6.38 and $6.45 a share for the year, above consensus estimates of $6.43.
The company did say its net income would be between $2.01 and $2.08 a share, lower than its prior forecast of $2.03 to $2.13. We are concerned that the company will have a difficult time raising rents as consistently as it has previously has been able to. The weak economic and retail environment will not turn on a dime, and thus we are removing Simon Property Group from our "Recommended" list.
We think the company's 3.97% dividend yield, based on Friday's closing stock price of $90.59, is not enough for the uncertain climate the company faces over the next few quarters. We believe investors will get a better entry point as time goes on.
Simon Property Group is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
Alberto Culver: Should Investors Invest in This 'Hairy' Play?
, which makes TRESemme, Alberto V05 and Nexxus hair-care products, beat the consensus estimates by a penny a share this morning. Solid sales of its hair-care products and the launch of Nexxus in Spain were some of the catalysts that propelled earnings in the quarter.
Management is slightly cautious on the next quarter's comps, since profits this quarter were boosted after Nexxus products debuted at warehouse clubs. For dividend investors, the company's shares fall just short of our recommendation at this time. We did upgrade our ratings, and will be looking for a sustained move off the recent lows before we get on board. Alberto-Culver currently has a 1.08% dividend yield.
Alberto-Culver is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.
Be sure to visit our complete
recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks
as well as a
detailed explanation of our ratings system
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.