"Healthy" Picks for Dividend Growth

09/26/2016 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Chloe Jensen

Chief Analyst, Cabot Dividend Investor

To be chosen for the Dividend Growth tier of our model portfolio, investments must have a strong history of dividend increases and indicate both good potential for and high prioritization of continued dividend growth, suggests Chloe Lutts Jensen, editor of Cabot Dividend Investor.

Here are two recommended stocks that meet our investment criteria and earn a "buy" rating; both stocks are in the pharmaceutical sector.

AbbVie (ABBV) has been pulled down by the ongoing controversy over the pricing of the EpiPen by Mylan (MYL).

Analysts fear that the larger controversy over drug pricing could lead to restrictions on what pharmaceutical companies can charge for branded prescription drugs.

There is a risk that the government could intervene in a way that damages drug company profits, which could cause a significant selloff in pharma stocks.

But the pharma companies’ influence in Washington—they spend significantly more on lobbying than any other industry—makes me doubt any real action is imminent.

I also like that the drug pricing controversy has made AbbVie and its peers unpopular, creating an opportunity for contrarian investors. Meanwhile, the stock offers a yield of 3.6%.

Amgen (AMGN) also pulled back slightly as the EpiPen made headlines, though less so than AbbVie.

Amgen’s biggest sellers include the arthritis drug Enbrel and an osteoporosis shot called Prolia, both of which sell for thousands of dollars.

But the stock isn’t telegraphing any concern on pricing pressure. Amgen is less dependent on any one drug than AbbVie, and also has a potential new blockbuster in Repatha.

A new type of cholesterol treatment, Repatha has already been approved by the FDA but isn’t being widely prescribed until longer-term data on cardiac risk is released later this year.

AMGN, yielding 2.3%, is still a Buy for dividend growth; just be aware of the high potential for volatility and elevated risk in this sector right now.

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By Chloe Lutts Jensen, Editor of Cabot Dividend Investor

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