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The crises of the past year – the COVID pandemic, the social lockdowns, the economic shock – are on the wane, and that’s good. However, the crisis post-mortems are rolling in. It’s only natural to compare the current economic crisis to the ‘Great Recession’ of 12 years ago, but as Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus points out, “Considering the differences in what caused the Great Financial Crisis of a little more than 12 years ago… and the current crisis… it’s little wonder that as good as things are when compared to this time last year there remains much to be revealed as to how the exit and the legacy of the pandemic crisis will take shape…” Stoltzfus also believes that the economic data, while suffering some setbacks, is generally resilient. Markets are rising, and that, as Stoltzfus says, “…in our view likely presents more opportunity than risk for investors who have suitable tolerance for risk and who practice patience.” Taking Stoltzfus’ outlook into consideration, we wanted to take a closer look at two stocks earning a round of applause from Oppenheimer’s stock analysts. Using TipRanks’ database, we learned that both share a profile: a Strong Buy consensus rating from the Street’s analyst corps and a reliable dividend yielding at least 8%. Let’s see what Oppenheimer has to say about them. Owl Rock Capital (ORCC) We’ll start with Owl Rock Capital, one of the financial industry’s myriad specialty finance companies. These companies generally inhabit the middle-market finance sector, where they make available capital for acquisitions, recapitalizations, and general operations to mid-market companies that don’t necessarily have access to other sources of credit. Owl Rock’s portfolio consists of investments in 119 companies, totaling $11.3 billion. Of these investments, 96% are senior secured loans. Owl Rock reported its 4Q20, and full year results, at the end of February. The company saw Q4 net income of $180.7 million, which came out to 46 cents per share. This was up from 36 cents per share in 4Q19, a 27% increase. Also up was investment income, which at $221.3 million for the quarter was up 9% year-over-year. Full-year investment income was $803.3 million, up more than 11% from 2019. In addition, the company finished 2019 with over $27 billion in assets under management. Of particular interest to dividend investors, Owl Rock’s board declared a 31-cent per common share dividend for the first quarter. This is payable in mid-May, and matches the company’s previous regular dividend payments. The annualized rate of $1.24 gives a yield of 9%. Also of interest about Owl Rock’s dividend, the company paid out the sixth and final special dividend – related to the 2019 IPO launch – in this past December. In 2019, ORCC paid out for 80 cent special dividends, along with the regular dividend payments. The company has kept its dividend reliable, meeting both the regular and special payments, since going public in the summer of 2019. Owl Rock caught the attention of Oppenheimer’s Mitchel Penn, who sees the company as a solid investment with potential to beat the estimates. “We estimate EPS of $1.22 and $1.34 in 2021 and 2022 for an ROE of 8% and 9%, respectively. We project that Owl Rock can earn a 8.5% ROE, and given an estimated cost of equity capital of 8.5% we calculate a fair value of $15/share or 1.02x book value,” Penn noted. “To achieve an 8.5% ROE, ORCC will either need to increase its portfolio yield from 8.4% to 9.0% or increase its leverage from 1x to 1.2x. It’s also possible that it does a little of both. Our model accounts for the fee expense increase from a flat 75 bps to a base fee of 1.5% on assets and an incentive fee of 17.5% on income.” Penn rates this stock an Outperform (i.e., a Buy), and his $15 price target suggest a 7% upside potential from current levels. The dividend yield, however, is the true attraction here (To watch Penn’s track record, click here.) ORCC shares have attracted 3 recent reviews, and all are to Buy – which makes the Strong Buy consensus rating unanimous. This stock is selling for $13.98 per share and has an average price target of $14.71. (See ORCC stock analysis on TipRanks) Fidus Investment Corporation (FDUS) Sticking with the mid-market finance sector, we’ll take a look at Fidus Investment. This company, like Owl Rock, offers capital access to smaller firms, including access to debt solutions. Fidus has a portfolio that is based mainly on senior secured debt, along with mezzanine debt. The company that Fidus has invested in are valued between $10 million and $150 million. In the fourth quarter, rounding out 2020, Fidus invested in seven companies new to its portfolio, putting a total of $103.9 million into the investments. The company’s portfolio, for that quarter, brought in an adjusted net investment income of $10.7 million, or 25 cents per common share. This was up 3 cents, or 13%, year-over-year. For the full year 2020, the adjusted net income reached $38 million, up from $35.3 million in 2019. Per share, 2020’s $1.55 was up 7.6% yoy. Fidus’ shares have been climbing steadily in the past year. Since last April, the stock has gained an impressive 153%. This gives FDUS a solid share appreciation, to complement the dividend returns. Those dividends are substantial. The company declared its 1Q21 payment in February, and paid out on March 26. The regular payment, at 31 cents per common share, yields 8% with an annualized payout of $1.24. In addition to this regular payment, Fidus also declared a special dividend of 7 cents per share, nearly double the 4-cent special payment made in the previous quarter. Turning now to the Oppenheimer coverage on Fidus, we find that 5-star analyst Chris Kotowski is pleased with this company, enough to rate it an Outperform (i.e. Buy) with an $18 price target. This figure suggests a 15% one-year upside. (To watch Kotowski’s track record, click here) “The fundamentals [are] stable with debt investments at year-end essentially stable and interest income in line with both the prior quarter and our estimate…. What we are most pleased about is that we ended the year with only one small non-accrual. There was a significant loss during the year on one credit, which was crystallized in 4Q20, but there were also equity gains in 1Q20 that offset that, and in our mind, the fact that we end a year like this with minimal net losses validates FDUS’s business model.” Of Fidus’ dividend policy, maintaining a base payment with special dividends added on when possible, Kotowski writes simply, “We think a variable dividend makes a world of sense.” Like ORCC above, this is a stock with a unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating based on 3 recent positive reviews. Fidus’ shares are selling for $15.70 and their $17.17 average price target indicates a 9% upside potential from that level. (See FDUS stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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