The FTSE 100 has had a good run this year… so far. Year to date, the index is up around 10%. Yet even after this rise, I’m still seeing plenty of buying opportunities. Here’s a look at two dividend stocks I’d be happy to buy for my portfolio today.
One stock that I believe offers value right now is consumer goods champion Unilever (LSE: ULVR) which owns a top portfolio of brands including Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s icecream, and Lipton tea. This is a stock that often trades a relatively high valuation due to the fact that it’s such a consistent performer.
Yet recently, the shares have pulled back by nearly 15% on the back of sterling strength and weaker-than-expected Q3 sales in the emerging markets. I see this pullback as a buying opportunity.
There are a number of things I like about Unilever. Firstly, it’s relatively recession-proof. People buy its products whether the economy is booming or deteriorating. Secondly, it’s very profitable. Over the last five years, return on equity (ROE) has averaged 43%, meaning it’s one of the most profitable companies in the entire FTSE 100. Thirdly, with more than 50% of its sales coming from the emerging markets, there’s an attractive long-term growth story. As wealth across countries such as India and China continues to rise, more people should be able to afford the group’s products.
Today, Unilever shares trade on a forward-looking P/E ratio of 19, using next year’s consensus earnings forecast. I think that’s quite reasonable for a company of Unilever’s ilk. I see the stock as a ‘buy’ at current prices.
Another FTSE 100 dividend stock I like the look of right now is DS Smith (LSE: SMDS). It specialises in manufacturing cardboard boxes (the type Amazon deliveries come in).
Cardboard boxes may sound a little boring, but don’t tune out just yet. The reason I like DS Smith can be summed up in three words: the digital boom. Today, nearly 1.8bn people shop online globally with sales amounting to $3trn. In 2018, Amazon generated sales of $233bn alone.
Yet due to advances in technology (5G, data analytics, augmented reality, delivery drones etc) and rising smartphone penetration, global e-commerce sales are likely to climb much higher in the years ahead.
According to Statista, we could be looking at total retail e-commerce sales of a staggering $6.5trn by 2023. Given that DS Smith makes packaging for online deliveries, I think it should benefit from this extraordinary industry growth.
DS Smith shares tanked late last year on the back of fears over a global recession and they’re yet to fully recover. Currently, the forward-looking P/E ratio is just 10.3. At that valuation, I think the stock is a steal. There’s also a nice 4.7% dividend yield on offer.
All things considered, I believe the stock is priced to ‘buy’ right now.
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Edward Sheldon owns shares in Unilever and DS Smith. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Amazon and Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended DS Smith. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Motley Fool UK 2019