When it comes to choosing stocks for a retirement portfolios, now's not the time to get creative with fanciful stock ideas. You want investments that are more grounded. That doesn't mean you should only buy staid, boring companies, but you want to get a good value at a good price.
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We asked three Motley Fool investors to identify a stock they believe represents those ideals, and they highlighted Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), and Altria (NYSE: MO). Read on to find out why these three fit the bill.
Customers, not investors, go on the wild rides
Brian Stoffel (Cedar Fair): I'm not in retirement, nor am I what you might call a "value" investor. That being said, if I were both of those things, I would strongly consider buying shares of Cedar Fair. This is the parent company to 11 different amusement parks throughout the United States and Canada, with its Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio, being the crown jewel.
While the company is especially exposed to unfavorable weather and macroeconomic forces, it also has a powerful moat surrounding it in the form of incredibly high barriers to entry. The capital, land, and zoning permissions it takes to run an amusement park are more than enough to make the competition think twice before embarking on a mission to unseat this market leader.
Equally appealing to retirees, this master limited partnership is currently yielding a 5.3% payout. The key figure to watch here is free cash flow. While management regularly highlights adjusted EBITDA as the key figure, I still believe free cash flow is the most important -- as capital expenditures for new rides that keep customers coming back year after year is a huge "X-factor."
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Since 2012, management has increased the payout by 16% per year, with the most recent bump being a more modest 3.3% increase. That being said, there's nothing to be ashamed of in a 5.3% dividend yield. While the stock trades for a fair 23 times free cash flow, that number was adversely affected by weather in the second quarter, and it trades for under 20 times the free cash flow it took in last year. In today's rich market, that's enough to qualify as a "value" buy.
Put your chips on this tech giant
Keith Speights (Intel Corporation): There are plenty of things for retired investors to like about Intel. A dividend yield of more than 3% is certainly near the top of the list. A low payout ratio of barely over 40% and solid free cash flow of nearly $11.8 billion over the past 12 months means those dividends should keep on flowing.
But another great thing to like about Intel right now is its valuation. Shares trade at only 11 times expected earnings -- significantly below most large-cap stocks. Intel might not be the dominant player in the computer-chip market that it used to be, nor does it have the growth potential it once did. However, at the current attractive price, that's OK.
Intel remains a major provider of chips for the PC industry. Its biggest opportunities for growth, though, are in non-volatile memory (NVM) and autonomous cars. NVM holds significant potential for use in data centers, while the promise of autonomous cars is getting attention from many big tech companies. Intel thinks the two areas combined represent $200 billion in potential revenue. Even if that's overly optimistic, the company should be able to grab a significant share of both markets.
Not going up in smoke
Rich Duprey (Altria): The Food and Drug Administration effectively stubbed out the gains Altria had made this this year when the agency said it was considering forcing cigarette manufacturers to reduce nicotine levels to a point where cigarettes are no longer addictive. Since that would virtually end the ability of tobacco companies to sell cigarettes, and with Altria being the biggest cigarette maker with the most popular brand (Marlboro) on the market, it would fare the worst.
Altria's stock lost 10% of its value in one day and is down now nearly 20% from its 52-week high. This new, lower valuation makes the tobacco giant's stock a perfect value investment for retirement.
It's unlikely the FDA will impose such a draconian regulation on the industry, though of course it's still possible. However, the agency also softened its stance on electronic cigarettes, giving manufacturers an additional five years to gain FDA approval for their products. Moreover, with Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) moving forward with a plan to gain a reduced risk designation from the agency for its own e-cig device, the iQOS, that will be marketed as Marlboro HeatSticks, Altria has the opportunity to benefit from the huge competitive advantage the devices will gain if approved.
Philip Morris has said the future is going to be smoke-free, and all manufacturers are developing contingency plans for such a day, Altria included. Because its stock has been beaten down so far and it trades at just 8 times earnings, its stock will gain the most if anything but the worst is realized from the FDA's proposals.
With a dividend that yields 4.2%, it provides a source of income for a retirement portfolio that makes it a perfect addition.
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Brian Stoffel has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cedar Fair and Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.