McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP) looks like a good addition for the dividend growth investor. The market has historically applied a premium valuation to this company. Its historically above-average earnings growth had pushed the company to trade at premium, until recently. At its current valuation, McGraw-Hill sits at a fair valuation. Therefore, we believe today's price represents a sound valuation given McGraw-Hill's quality and consistency.
Dividend Champion: McGraw-Hill Companies
A Dividend Champion is defined as a company that has increased its dividend every year for 25 or more straight years. McGraw-Hill Companies is a dividend champion that has raised its dividend every year for 39 consecutive years. The complete Dividend Champions list is compiled courtesy of David Fish. (Open as an excel spreadsheet and look at the tabs on the bottom to find the Dividend Champions list).
About McGraw-Hill Companies: from their website
"McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries."
McGraw-Hill Companies: A Dividend Champion with 39 Consecutive Years of Dividend Increases
Learning from the Past - Looking at Earnings Only
Since dividends are paid out of earnings, a clear perspective of a company's historical earnings growth record is a vital component of a dividend investor's prudent due diligence process. The following graph plots McGraw-Hill Companies' earnings per share since 1998 . A quick glance to the right of the graph shows that McGraw-Hill Companies has increased earnings at a compounded rate of 10.6% (see purple circle on graph) per annum .
Earnings Determine Market Price and Dividend Income: The following earnings and price correlated F.A.S.T. Graphs™ clearly illustrates the importance of earnings to both price movement and dividend income. The earnings growth rate line or True Worth ™ line (orange line with white triangles) is correlated with the historical stock price line. On graph after graph the lines will move in tandem. If the stock price strays away from the earnings line (over or under), inevitably it will come back to earnings.
Since dividends are paid out of earnings, and therefore represent additional return on top of what the market capitalizes earnings at, they are depicted by the light blue shaded area and stacked on top of the earnings line. Therefore, a quick visual of these two important components is simultaneously revealed:
The additional return that dividend paying stocks provide.
The percentage of earnings paid to shareholders as dividends (payout ratio).
The value in this article is through carefully analyzing the earnings and price correlated fundamentally based graphs. Notice that one glance tells you how well the company has performed on an operating basis historically and how the market valued that historical performance. Therefore, the reader is free to discover whether or not current valuations make sense based on historical norms coupled with fundamental values. Instead of opinion, this article is designed to produce facts that can be analyzed to the reader's investing benefit.
Performance Table: Capital Appreciation and Dividend Income McGraw-Hill Companies
The associated performance results, with the earnings and price correlated graph, validates the above discussion regarding the two components of total return: Capital appreciation and dividend income. Dividends are included in the total return calculation and are assumed paid, but not reinvested.
When presented separately like this, the additional rate of return a dividend paying stock produces for shareholders becomes undeniably evident. In addition to the 6.3% capital appreciation (Closing Annualized ROR), long-term shareholders of McGraw-Hill Companies would have received an additional $50,576.21 in dividends that increased their total return from 6.3% to 7.7% per annum.
(Note: Since this is a Dividend Champion it has raised its dividend every year for at least 25 years, therefore, negative dividend growth rates shown, if any, will be attributed to special additional dividends paid in excess of the company's regularly reported dividend rate)
The following graph plots the historically normal PE ratio (the dark blue line) correlated with 10-year Treasury note interest. Notice that the current price earnings ratio on this quality company is as low as it has been since 1998.
A further indication of valuation can be seen by examining a company's current price to sales ratio relative to its historical price to sales ratio. The current price to sales ratio for McGraw-Hill Companies is 1.97, which is historically low.
Looking to the Future
Extensive research has provided a preponderance of conclusive evidence that future long-term returns, and the dividend and its growth rate are a function of two critical determinants:
The rate of change (growth rate) of the company's earnings
The price or valuation you pay to buy those earnings
Therefore, forecasting future earnings growth, bought at sound valuations, is the key to safe, sound, and profitable performance.
Therefore, it logically follows that measuring performance without simultaneously measuring valuation is a job half done. At its current price, which is attractively aligned with its True Worth™ valuation, McGraw-Hill Companies represents a potential opportunity to invest in a Dividend Champion at a reasonable price. The important factor is that McGraw-Hill Companies has real assets and cash flow underpinning its stock price. This solid economic foundation offers shareholders the potential for both a strong margin of safety and an opportunity for an increasing dividend income stream and potentially attractive future returns.
The Estimated Earnings and Return Calculator Tool is a simple yet powerful resource that empowers the user to calculate and run various investing scenarios that generate precise rate of return potentialities. Thinking the investment through to its logical conclusion is an important component towards making sound and prudent commonsense investing decisions.
The consensus of 7 leading analysts reporting to Capital IQ forecast McGraw-Hill Companies long-term earnings growth at 11%. McGraw-Hill Companies has medium long-term debt at 34% of capital. McGraw-Hill Companies is currently trading at a P/E of 14.4, which is inside the value corridor (defined by the five orange lines) of a maximum P/E of 18. If the earnings materialize as forecast, McGraw-Hill Companies' True Worth valuation would be $83.11 at the end of 2017, which would be a 13.6% annual rate of return from the current price, including assumed dividends.
Earnings Yield Estimates
Discounted Future Cash Flows: All companies derive their value from the future cash flows (earnings) they are capable of generating for their stakeholders over time. Therefore, because Earnings Determine Market Price and dividend income in the long run, we expect the future earnings of a company to justify the price we pay.
Since all investments potentially compete with all other investments, it is useful to compare investing in any prospective company to that of a comparable investment in low risk Treasury bonds. Comparing an investment in McGraw-Hill Companies to an equal investment in 10-year Treasury bonds illustrates that McGraw-Hill Companies' expected earnings would be 7.2 times that of the 10-Year T-Bond Interest. (See EYE chart below). This is the essence of the importance of proper valuation as a critical investing component.
This report presents essential "fundamentals at a glance" on Dividend Champion McGraw-Hill Companies, illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, it's imperative that the reader conduct his or her own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not. Follow the link we provided at the beginning of this article to a fully functioning F.A.S.T. Graphs™ on McGraw-Hill Companies.
Summary & Conclusions
We believe McGraw-Hill represents an excellent choice for the prudent dividend growth investor seeking both capital appreciation and above-average current yield. Its recent pull-back has priced McGraw-Hill at fair value and within our valuation corridor. Therefore, it appears to be a sound long-term investment at these levels. Furthermore, we would suggest that if the stock continued to drop from these levels, the prudent investor could use the lower price as an opportunity to average down their cost basis. As always, we recommend you conduct your own thorough due diligence.
Disclosure: Long MHP at the time of writing.