Investors who are looking for a safe place to put their money while also collecting a solid dividend yield should look no further than industrial conglomerateHoneywell International (HON) - Get Report , which is due to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2015 earning results Friday before the opening bell.
Honeywell shares, at around $97, are down 6.5% for the year to date and didn't deliver the sort of gains investors expected although it outperformed the 7.2% drop in the S&P 500 (SPX) index for the same period. However, one thing in Honeywell's favor is its quarterly dividend of 59.5 cents, which yields 2.30% annually, some 30 basis points higher than the S&P 500 index.
Honeywell's total returns were even sweeter after raising its dividend 15% in October.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer says Honeywell is one of his "fabulous four" companies that have "gotten it right" and done exactly what they said they would do, to the betterment of shareholders. Cramer noted Honeywell's CEO has reaffirmed 2016 guidance. In an economy "with global pressures, falling commodities and rising interest rates, being autonomous enough to not cut your estimates is a real sign of strength, delivering for investors no matter what," he said.
That's one reason why investors should pay attention to the company's potential to create value.
Argus analyst John Eade, who has a buy rating on Honeywell with an $118 price target, sees 20% gains from current levels of around $98. In a recent analyst note, Eade said he expects the New Jersey-based company to continue to benefit from "its diverse product lines and relatively low exposure to U.S. defense spending, as well as from its strong presence in the commercial aerospace market."
In that vein, Honeywell, which makes aircraft engines and cockpit electronics, has embraced new technologies and various product launches aimed at growing market share. While competitor General Electric (GE) - Get Report has generated tons of market buzz thanks to its M&A deals and various divestments, Honeywell's business continues to grow organically, demonstrating the strength of its underlying business.
Honeywell expects 2016 revenue to increase between 4% and 6% higher than 2015, while core organic growth is projected to advance between 1% and 2%. The organic growth is important because highlights the real strength of the company's business and eliminates growth contributions from external factors such as mergers and acquisitions.
The company, which operates in three segments, expects segment margins and operating income margins to climb between 10 basis points to 50 basis points above last year. While these forecast -- in basis point terms -- may seem marginal, they can be the difference between an earnings beat with tons of free cash flow or an earnings miss with downbeat guidance that punishes the stock.
Honeywell forecast full-year earnings to be up 6% to 10% and projected some $300 million to $600 million (between 8% and 13% higher) increase in free cash flow. Not only will all of this cash strengthen Honeywell's balance sheet, but -- given its history of dividend double-digit dividend increases -- Honeywell will have more muscle to return some of that cash to shareholders in the form of higher dividends and stock buybacks.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.