Principal: Top Pick for Rising Rates

12/06/2016 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Gordon Pape

Editor and Publisher, The Income Investor and the Internet Wealth Builder

While much remains unknown about the details of the Trump agenda, it is reasonable to assume that interest rates and bond yields will be rising for the next couple of years, explains Gordon Pape, editor of The Income Investor.

The election of Donald Trump has proven to be bullish for financial stocks as investors anticipate higher growth in the US and an increase in interest rates. Banks and insurers are beneficiaries of rising interest rates and bond yields.

Our Top Pick this month is Principal Financial Group (PFG), a major US financial services company with almost $600 billion in assets under management.

Its wealth management services include trusts, insurance, and mutual funds plus a range of services for employers, including group benefit plans, retirement plans, and business planning and protection solutions.

The company reported very solid third-quarter results on October 27th. Assets under management were $595.8 billion, up 15% on the trailing 12-month basis. That's a new record for the firm.

On a per share basis, earnings were $1.06 (fully diluted) compared with $1.01 in the same period last year.

While the yield of 2.9% may not look high, this company is a proven dividend grower. The company announced an increase of $0.02 per share in the dividend, to $0.43 per quarter starting with the December 27th payment.

This marks the third quarter in a row that the dividend has gone up. Over the past year, the quarterly payment has increased by 13%. Since the end of 2013, it is up 65%.

The future looks a lot brighter for financial companies now than before the Trump victory. The solid growth of this company and its commitment to share buybacks and dividend increases make it a sound choice.

The stock has had a strong run and is trading near its all-time high, but still looks reasonably valued and offer a good and steadily increasing dividend. Conservative investors may want to watch it for a while and buy on pullbacks.

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By Gordon Pape, Editor of The Income Investor

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