Low Growth, Low Rate Duo

07/06/2016 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Tim Plaehn

Investment Research Analyst, Investors Alley

It's an election year, and we have both sides claiming that they have the answers that will generate jobs, higher incomes and economic growth, notes Tim Plaehn, editor of Dividend Hunter.

Unfortunately, I do not expect much in the way of overall economic growth, no matter who is elected President.

We have now had almost a full decade of attempts by the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank to stimulate growth through monetary policy.

In hindsight, it is obvious that central bank policies alone cannot produce meaningful GDP growth. To actually generate growth, elected politicians must pass regulatory reform -– read simplification –- and tax reform.

I am skeptical that any administration would be able to build the support needed to remove these burdens. With these realities, interest rates will stay low.

That makes it tough for individual investors to earn acceptable returns from safe investments like Treasury bonds, investment grade bonds, or CDs.

To actually generate decent, low to mid-teens average annual returns, my focus is on companies that can grow cash flow per share and turn that cash flow growth into above average dividend growth rates.

Investing is a matter of predicting cash flow growth and picking stocks with an attractive combination of yield plus dividend growth. Here are two out of my recommendations:

Easterly Government Properties (DEA)

Easterly Government Properties is a REIT that owns facilities which it leases to federal government agencies. The company came to market with a February 2015 IPO.

Management's stated goal is to aggressively grow through acquisitions. Over the last three quarters the DEA dividend has been increased by 9.5%.

Based on the level of acquisition activity I expect annual dividend growth from this REIT to average around 10%. The stock currently yields 4.9%.

Tesoro Logistics (TLLP)

Tesoro Logistics is a master limited partnership (MLP) that provides energy products transport and storage services to its sponsor, Tesoro (TSO).

The structure of the MLP and General Partner sponsor business model highly motivates Tesoro to managed Tesoro Logistics for distribution growth.

Tesoro Logistics has been growing its distribution on limited partner units by 16% to 17% per year and management has stated it expects to maintain that growth rate. TLLP currently yields 6.5%.

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By Tim Plaehn, Editor of Dividend Hunter

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