And the chances of these companies' stock prices going up from here are much greater than the chances that their bonds will gain in price. That's because as interest rates rise, bond prices decline. And we can be reasonably confident that stock prices and dividends both will increase over the coming years.
That's a great reason to substitute some blue chip stocks for bonds in your current investment portfolio and then watch them grow over time.
Some examples are Merck, Pfizer, Abbott Labs, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, US Bank, Boeing, GE, Honeywell, Microsoft, Intel, Pepsi, Mc Donald's, Wal-Mart and Exxon. Others are noted hereinbelow, and there are many others in the same category of blue chips.
At least that's my take.
Examples abound but Stocks for Bond Lovers provides several examples of the above situation where a company's dividend yield is greater than that same company's bond yield:
"Investors who buy Procter & Gamble bonds that come due in 15 years get a yield to maturity of about 3% a year. Those who buy the company's stock, meanwhile, get a dividend yield of 3.7%.
That's not how stocks and bonds are supposed to work.
Historically, higher yields for bonds versus stocks have helped make up for the fact that dividends for healthy companies tend to grow over time, while bond coupons are fixed. P&G raised its dividend payment by 7% in April, marking 56 straight years of increases.
If a company increases its dividend by 7% a year, payments to its shareholders will more than double by year 12, while those to its bondholders will be unchanged.
Of course, bondholders can take comfort in knowing they will get their principal back at maturity, so long as the issuer can be counted on to pay (and P&G is considered highly reliable). Stockholders are subject to the uncertainty of future share price changes.
But over a long enough time period, dependable dividends can offset much of that uncertainty. If P&G can grow its dividend payments by just 5% a year, then after 13 years, stockholders will have collected more than $66 in dividends for each $61 share they bought today.
Second, government debt levels are high in the U.S., Japan and Europe, while many global companies are stuffed with cash, borrowing only opportunistically. That has made corporate bonds attractive to safety-minded investors, who have pushed prices higher and yields lower. "In some ways top-rated corporate bonds are the new sovereign bonds," says Dan Heckman, senior fixed income strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
Third, while investors in their hunt for safe yield have driven bond prices to record highs, they haven't done so with stocks. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index trades at 13.9 times trailing earnings, a slight discount to its historic average. P&G shares have tumbled of late on news the company will undo some of its price increases to protect market share -- a common setback in the household products business, but one that stock investors are showing little patience for.
Of course, P&G's bond yields are also so low because of its privileged position as a borrower. It's one of only 14 large American companies whose unsecured bonds are rated Aa ("very low credit risk") or Aaa ("minimal credit risk") by Moody's.
Now seems a good time for bond investors to consider adding more shares for income. Investors have just come through "the decade of the bondholder," during which bond prices have soared on falling interest rates and companies strengthening their balance sheets, says Katherine Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust, a Chicago investment firm managing $700 billion. Now they're likely entering the decade of the shareholder, when companies will be pressured to turn their cash hoards into dividends and stock repurchases, she says.
Below are listed P&G and four other companies with unsecured bonds rated Aa or better by Moody's, whose dividend yields are larger than the yields on their intermediate-term bonds.
|Company (Ticker)||Bond Yield||Bond Maturity||Dividend Yield|
|Chevron (CVX:||1.9%||Mar. 2019||3.4%|
|Coca-Cola (KO:||2.3%||Sep. 2021||2.6%|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:||2.8%||Nov. 2024||3.6%|
|Procter & Gamble (PG:||3.0%||May 2027||3.7%|