One of the biggest mistakes an investor can make is trading stocks too frequently. With the daily volatility of the stock market, it can be tempting to trade in and out of stocks.
However, not only does selling stocks generate taxes in a non-tax advantaged account, but investors might also have to pay trading commissions. Day trading stocks might make your broker rich, but it almost certainly won’t make you rich.
Instead, it might be useful to follow the advice of one of the best investors of our time. Warren Buffett once said that when it comes to owning shares of strong businesses, his favorite holding period is forever. With this mindset, investors can benefit from the magic power of compounding while avoiding unnecessary commission fees and taxes.
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is a high-quality dividend stock that investors should hold forever.
A Dividend to Stand the Test of Time
Abbott has paid 376 consecutive quarterly dividends since 1924, and has increased its dividend each year for the past 46 years. Its impressive dividend history is fueled by a fundamental truth—people will always need healthcare. This holds true regardless of the economic climate, which is why Abbott has continued to increase its dividend each year, no matter what.
As a diversified healthcare company, Abbott has benefited from steady growth for years. Its business model includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and nutrition products. In the most recent quarter, Abbott Laboratories generated total sales of $7.8 billion, an increase of 17.0% from the same quarter last year. Sales growth was fueled by the acquisitions of St. Jude Medical and Alere. Abbott also generated 8% organic revenue growth for the period.
Abbott saw broad-based growth across all of its operating segments. Pharmaceutical sales growth of 12% led the way, while medical devices followed with 8% growth. Nutrition and diagnostics product sales each increased 6% for the quarter. Earnings grew 18%, due to sales growth plus the impacts of tax reform and margin expansion.
The company expects 2018 to be another successful year of strong growth. After providing second-quarter financial results, Abbott Laboratories also increased its full-year financial guidance. The company expects to generate adjusted earnings-per-share in a range of $2.85 to $2.91 for 2018. At the midpoint of guidance, Abbott expects 15% earnings growth this year.
This growth rate will easily allow the company to raise its dividend again next year. And, looking further out, the long-term potential is very attractive. Aging societies in the U.S. and elsewhere are expected to lead to sustained growth in healthcare spending.
When to Buy Abbott
Now might not be the best time to buy Abbott stock. Shares have enjoyed a tremendous rally over the past several years, and as a result hold an elevated valuation. Abbott trades for a price-to-earnings ratio of 23, above its estimated fair value of 19. As a result, total returns could see a headwind of 3.8% per year. As a result, Abbott is a buy when the stock is trading below a price-to-earnings ratio of 19, which equates to a share price under $55. Investors should buy Abbott at that price or less, and hold this high-quality dividend growth stock forever.
Ben Reynolds is CEO of Sure Dividend. Sure Dividend helps individual investors build high quality dividend growth stock portfolios for the long run.
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