When all the scores were assigned this month we found ourselves faced with a three-way tie for top spot. Three stocks, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Altria (NYSE: MO) and Gamestop (NYSE: GME) earned a score of 14 out of a possible 20.
Let’s deal with Gamestop first. This company is not on the S&P 100 and would normally never be one of our recommendations. Why? Because it might not be a buy and hold kind of stock. The future is unclear for bricks and mortar video game retailers so it remains to be seen if Gamestop will be able to successfully continue to navigate its transition to a greater online and wireless presence. It’s currently 27% off the 52-week high but hasn’t shown any real price growth in the last five years. One thing it’s managed to do well is pay a dividend that increases every year and is currently at 7.8%. Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all. So while we prefer to see some appreciation in value, you will likely enjoy a great return just from the dividend. That will be enough to attract some of our readers to this stock.
Next, IBM. We’ve written about IBM before and we’ve recommended it in three different months in late 2015 and early 2016. By the way, in that 18 month period it’s appreciated 11% and paid a 4% dividend every year. You’re welcome. If you hold IBM and you want to increase your position – go for it. It’s still a company we believe has value and has stellar earnings (EPS is 12!). If you already own IBM and would rather diversify, pass on them this month – they’ll still be great next month.
Now for our official recommendation – Altria. Altria made headlines in July when the FDA introduced regulations to limit the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. We wrote about all that business last month because Altria was our pick in September too! If you missed it – go read our September entry now! The stock gained about 2% in September since we recommended it. Not bad for one month but that means nothing to a long-term investor. We remain convinced the company will weather this storm and a couple of years from now we’ll be happy we bought at this price and enjoyed that rock-solid 4% dividend in the meantime.
There you have it. Lots of choice this month so you can go with the one that allows you sleep well at night.