Advertising is a cyclical business and as such, it is experiencing boom times amid the global recovery. Greater consumer confidence is buoying spending on goods and services, which in turn fuels ad spending.
Here, we pinpoint three leading advertising stocks that not only benefit from these trends but also offer high dividends.LAMR data by YCharts
With a stock that sports a dividend yield of 5%, the 110-year old Lamar Advertising Company is an income stalwart in the ad arena.
Lamar recently transformed itself into a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) structure that brought with it a clutch of benefits -- 12% total returns this year compared to other diversified REITs that posted a loss of nearly 6% in the same time.
With an expansive national footprint and approximately 145,000 billboards, a diversified base of over 40,000 tenants, a solid real estate portfolio, and a flexible business model that cuts capex in downturns, Lamar is a well-managed business.
For dividend investors, the stock is an attractive pick: Lamar expects to raise dividends by 10% annually for the next several years, enjoys a history of free cash flow generation (between $200 million and $350 million over the past five years) and boasts a stable earnings trajectory in the past as well as anticipated into the future. A short-term rally in the stock notwithstanding, Lamar trades at less than 20 times forward earnings.
The Omnicom Group Inc. is an advertising, marketing and corporate communications company that provides professional services to clients through multiple agencies.
Available at a dividend yield of 2.75%, the stock admittedly hasn't had the best year so far. After a roaring in 2013 and 2014, this year has been marked by a staid performance with the stock on a total returns basis, down by about 4% year to date.
Earnings-per-share (EPS) growth is estimated by Wall Street to improve to almost 7% next year from 3.8% this year, backed by a nearly 4% uptick in sales.
The company's portfolio includes three global advertising agency networks: BBDO, DDB and TBWA; two of the world's premier providers of media services: OMD and PHD, are also part of the Omnicom Media Group.
The stock has held out pretty well because of its dividend-hiking strategy. Dividends were 80 cents a share in 2010, improved to $1.00 in 2011, $1.20 in 2012, $1.60 in 2013 and $1.90 in 2014. It has already paid out $1.50 this year so far.
As digital advertising picks up momentum, Omnicom is in a sweet spot with its network, reach and scale. The company has also maintained its overall operating margin at around 13% for the last 10 years and delivered 4%-to-5% 10-year average top-line and bottom-line growth.
Dividends paid as a percentage of free cash flow is less than 40%. This leaves room for the company to pay more dividends and go slower on share repurchases as the earnings trajectory reaches a plateau.
The Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. is one of the world's premier global advertising and marketing companies. It offers a dividend yield of 2.6%. Much like its peers, the stock has delivered stable but low double-digit annual returns after 2013.
At 17 times forward earnings, it's not an expensive stock considering that Wall Street expects it to deliver a decent EPS growth this year (and the next) and about 9% growth over the next five years. Dividend payouts have been hiked regularly with the 24 cents a share dividend in 2011 growing by more than 50% to 38 cents in 2014.
The company generates a reasonable free cash flow basket and has spent roughly $600 million in dividends and share repurchases for the past five years. Recent quarterly earnings reports have reflected stability as well.
The company's robust digital capability is turning out to be a significant growth-driver. Interpublic's management is now working on a plan to deliver 100 basis points of margin improvement for 2015.
The company's new business pipeline has also shown promise -- the year's headline contract awards include win of the Coca-Cola media review, Johnson & Johnson's U.S. media-buying and planning accounts, as well as CVS Health and McCormick & Co.
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