Why Crown Castle, Mattel and New Mountain Are Smart Dividend Plays

Owning Mattel (MAT) has been a losing game thus far in 2015 year with shares of the toymaker down close to 30%.
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Owning Mattel (MAT) has been a losing game thus far in 2015 year with shares of the toymaker down close to 30%. Marc Lichtenfeld, author of Get Rich With Dividends, said the company’s new President Richard Dickson is picking up the pieces and turning the company around. 'He is known as Mr. Barbie because he turned around the Barbie brand several years ago. He left to go run another company and now he is back,' said Lichtenfeld, adding that despite its problems, Mattel still generates a large enough cash flow to pay its dividend which remains a top priority for the company. Mattel currently sports a healthy 6.7% dividend yield. Lichtenfeld is also positive on cellular tower provider Crown Castle (CCI), which has seen its shares drop 1.5% so far this year. The company pays a healthy dividend of 4.1%, but Lichtenfeld says its payout ratio is low and Crown, a relatively new dividend payer, could soon raise its coupon. 'They have only been paying dividends since 2014 and they raised it in 2015,' said Lichtenfeld. 'And because they have so much cushion between what they are paying shareholders and what they are bringing in for free cash flow I think they can raise that dividend significantly over the coming years.' Shares of New York Community Bancorp (NYCB), which has dividend yield of 5.5%, are up 12% so far in 2015. Lichtenfeld the mid-sized Northeast bank will be helped once the Federal Reserve finally hikes interest rates. 'Higher interest rates probably means more net interest income for NYCB and the other banks,' said Lichtenfeld, adding that the bank is well managed and had 'virtually no problems during the crisis.' Finally, Lichtenfeld is constructive on New Mountain Finance Corporation (NMFC), which pays a dividend of 9.5%. The business development company has seen its shares fall 11% in 2015, yet he said that dip is partly due to a recent sale of stock. 'They are very careful about who they lend money to,' said Lichtenfeld.