George Soros' Top 10 Dividend Stock Picks for 2015

NEW YORK (Stockpickr) -- At Stockpickr, we track the top holdings of a variety of high-profile investors, such as Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn.

One of our most popular professional portfolios is that of George Soros' Soros Fund Management. The fund conducts a large number of transactions each quarter -- for example, in the most recent quarter, it bought 85 new stocks sold out altogether of 50. Today, we're highlighting some of its top dividend stock picks.

What follows is a closer look at five of Soros' top 30 stocks. They all comprise at least 0.7% of Soros' portfolio as of the most recently reported quarter ended June 30 and have dividend yields of at least 1%. They are ordered here by yield.

10. Nice Systems

Nice Systems (NICE) has a current yield of 1%.

Nice Systems comprises 0.7% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros decreased his stake in the stock by 27%, or 380,000 shares, to 1 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Nice Systems as a buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Nice Systems (NICE) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NICE has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.05, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 147.36% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 71.16% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, NICE should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Nice Systems reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, Nice Systems increased its bottom line by earning $1.75 versus $0.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.03 versus $1.75).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Software industry. The net income increased by 181.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $10.39 million to $29.26 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: NICE Ratings Report


9. PulteGroup

PulteGroup (PHM) has a current yield of 1.5%, paying a quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share.

PulteGroup comprises 0.7% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros maintained a 3.2 million-share position in the stock.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PulteGroup as a buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate PulteGroup (PHM) a buy. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Household Durables industry. The net income increased by 146.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $41.88 million to $103.32 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.37, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • PulteGroup reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PulteGroup reported lower earnings of $1.25 versus $6.74 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.34 versus $1.25).
  • PHM, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 12.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PHM Ratings Report


8. Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable (TWC) has a current yield of 1.6%, paying a quarterly dividend of 75 cents a share.

Time Warner Cable comprises 2.7% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. The 1.5 million-share stake is a new position for Soros in the most recently reported quarter.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Time Warner Cable as a buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Time Warner Cable (TWC) a buy. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, TWC's share price has jumped by 27.38%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has remained constant at $1,698.00 million with no significant change when compared to the same quarter last year. This quarter, Time Warner Cable's cash flow growth rate has remained relatively unchanged and is slightly below the industry average.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Media industry and the overall market, Time Warner Cable's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Time Warner Cable's earnings per share declined by 8.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Time Warner Cable increased its bottom line by earning $7.17 versus $6.71 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 8.4% in earnings ($6.57 versus $7.17).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: TWC Ratings Report

7. Monsanto

Monsanto (MON) has a current yield of 2.1%, paying a quarterly dividend of 54 cents a share.

Motorola Solutions comprises 1.3% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros increased his stake in the stock by 137.1%, or 672,273 shares, to 1.2 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Monsanto as a buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Monsanto (MON) a buy. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Monsanto has improved earnings per share by 47.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, Monsanto increased its bottom line by earning $5.13 versus $4.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.76 versus $5.13).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 33.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $858.00 million to $1,141.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for Monsanto is rather high; currently it is at 63.59%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 24.91% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. In comparison to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, Monsanto has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MON Ratings Report


6. Western Refining

Western Refining (WNR) has a current yield of 2.8%, paying a quarterly dividend of 34 cents a share.

Western Refining comprises 0.7% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros increased his stake in the stock by 1.5%, or 22,357 shares, to 1.5 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Western Refining as a buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Western Refining (WNR) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.53, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • WNR, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 34.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 35.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 14.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $156.70 million to $133.92 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: WNR Ratings Report


5. NextEra Energy

NextEra Energy (NEE) has a current yield of 2.8%, paying a quarterly dividend of 77 cents a share.

NextEra Energy comprises 1.4% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros increased his stake in the stock by 110.3%, or 703,970 shares, to 1.3 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates NextEra Energy as a buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate NextEra Energy (NEE) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • NEE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • NextEra Energy has improved earnings per share by 42.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, NextEra Energy increased its bottom line by earning $5.60 versus $3.93 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.65 versus $5.60).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electric Utilities industry. The net income increased by 45.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $491.00 million to $716.00 million.
  • 43.43% is the gross profit margin for NextEra Energy which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.42% is above that of the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: NEE Ratings Report


4. Kraft Heinz

Kraft Heinz (KHC) has a current yield of 2.9%, paying a quarterly dividend of 55 cents a share.

Kraft Heinz comprises 0.7% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30, with a position size of 801,133 shares.

There is no TheStreet Ratings data for Kraft Heinz at this time.

3. LyondellBasell Industries

LyondellBasell Industries (LYB) has a current yield of 3.6%, paying a quarterly dividend of 78 cents a share.

LyondellBasell Industries comprises 1.9% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros decreased his stake in the stock by 14.5%, or 301,046 shares, to 1.8 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates LyondellBasell Industries as a buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate LyondellBasell Industries (LYB) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, notable return on equity and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • LyondellBasell Industries has improved earnings per share by 26.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LyondellBasell Industries increased its bottom line by earning $7.97 versus $6.78 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($10.25 versus $7.97).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Chemicals industry average. The net income increased by 12.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,178.00 million to $1,330.00 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, LyondellBasell Industries' return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • LYB, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 24.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.05, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Chemicals industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.28 is sturdy.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: LYB Ratings Report


2. Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical (DOW) has a current yield of 3.8%, paying a quarterly dividend of 42 cents a share.

Dow Chemical comprises 2.6% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros increased his stake in the stock by 5%, or 230,698 shares, to 4.9 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Dow Chemical as a buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Dow Chemical (DOW) a buy. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 26.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $967.00 million to $1,220.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.84, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.19, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, DOW CHEMICAL has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • DOW CHEMICAL has improved earnings per share by 32.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DOW CHEMICAL reported lower earnings of $2.86 versus $3.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.24 versus $2.86).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: DOW Ratings Report


1. Cypress Semiconductor

Cypress Semiconductor (CY) has a current yield of 4.4%, paying a quarterly dividend of 11 cents a share.

Cypress comprises 1.9% of Soros Fund Management's portfolio as of June 30. In the most recently reported quarter, Soros increased his stake in the stock by 20.1%, or 2.7 million shares, to 15.9 million shares.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Cypress Semiconductor a hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Cypress Semiconductor (CY) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed – some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • CY's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 164.0%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • CY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.16 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • The gross profit margin for Cypress Semiconductor is rather low; currently it is at 19.87%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -18.57% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$65.62 million or 248.09% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CY Ratings Report

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