3 for $300: A mini DRIP portfolio

Using dividend reinvestment plans, you can buy a trio of solid stocks for just a few hundred dollars.

By TheStockAdvisors Jun 7, 2012 11:19AM
Image: Man Taking Money Out of Wallet © NULL/CorbisBy Chuck Carlson, DRIP Investor

One great thing about investing in dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) is that you can turn a little into a lot. Indeed, the modest minimums for most plans allow almost any investor to build a diversified portfolio of solid stocks regardless of the size of his or her pocketbook.

Here are three quality stocks offering solid long-term potential. And their DRIPS allow any investor to make even their initial purchase of stock directly from the company. Best of all, the initial minimum for each is just $100, making it easy for any investor to build a "mini" three-stock portfolio with just $300.

CVS Caremark (CVS) is the largest integrated pharmacy healthcare provider in the U.S. The company operates more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy stores.

Approximately 75% of the U.S. population lives within three miles of a CVS pharmacy. The firm fills or manages more than one billion prescriptions annually.

CVS is also one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers, serving more than 60 million plan members. The firm also tops the market for retail-based medical centers via its roughly 600 MinuteClinic locations.

The firm is coming off a strong first quarter. Revenues rose nearly 20% to a record $30.8 billion. Per-share earnings rose 14% to $0.65 per share, $0.02 above the consensus estimate.

It has raised its earnings guidance for full-year 2012 to $3.23 to $3.33 per share. The stock trades at 14 times the low-end guidance, a reasonable valuation given the firm's growth of late.

CVS has been benefiting at the expense of its chief competitor, Walgreen, which has been hurt by its failure to renew a deal with large pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.

Should Walgreen and Express Scripts eventually cut a deal, it could impact CVS. Still, has remained resilient during the recent market downturn and its growth prospects are solid.

For enrollment information and a plan prospectus call (877) 287-7526 or visit www.stockbny.com.

Eaton (ETN) is a global technology leader in electrical components, systems, and services for power quality, distribution, and control.

Eaton put up solid numbers in the first quarter. Per-share profits jumped 10% to $0.92, beating the consensus estimate by $0.02 per share. The company set first-quarter records in sales, segment operating profit margins, and earnings per share.

The company expects a record year for 2012 overall, with revenue growing more than 7% and operating earnings per share up 14%. The company recently raised its per-share earnings guidance $0.10 to between $4.30 and $4.70 for 2012.

Eaton stock offers a good value at just 10 times the low-end estimate of $4.30 per share. Enhancing appeal is the yield of 3.6%.

For enrollment information and a plan prospectus call (888) 597-8625 or visit www.stockbny.com.

Quest Diagnostics (DGX) is the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information, and services ranging from routine blood tests to complex, gene-based, and molecular testing.

The firm has special expertise in the cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, and neurology areas. The company serves half of the physicians and hospitals in the U.S.

While healthcare-related stocks have had their ups and downs, Quest represents a consistent play in the group. The firm has beaten analysts' earnings estimates in each of the last three quarters.

Quest demonstrated confidence in its future by boosting its dividend 70% to a quarterly rate of $0.17 per share.

Even at the higher dividend rate the company's payout ratio (the percentage of profi ts paid out in dividends) is just 15%, leaving plenty of room for future dividend hikes.

For enrollment information and a plan brochure call (800) 622-6757 or visit www.computershare.com.

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