Apple Inc. (symbol AAPL on Nasdaq) continues to see strong sales of its iPad tablet computer: in April and May of 2010, the company sold 2 million of these devices.
At this rate, Apple should sell many more iPads than the 6 million it was expected to sell in the first year. As well, Apple is now selling the iPad outside the U.S. That should further push up sales.
Dividend paying stocks that provide content offer lower-risk iPad profits
There are a couple of ways to profit from the rising popularity of the iPad. The obvious way is to buy shares of Apple, which is one of the stocks we cover in our Wall Street Stock Forecaster newsletter.
However, more conservative investors should consider content providers that plan to sell e-books and other information to iPad users. To cut your risk, focus on companies with well-known brands and strong reputations that will continue to attract customers and advertisers. As an added plus, many well-established information providers are dividend paying stocks.
In a just-published issue of Canadian Wealth Advisor, our newsletter for conservative investing, we update our buy/sell/hold advice on a content provider that many investors wouldn’t readily connect with the iPad: newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. (symbol TS.B on Toronto). The dividend paying stock’s annual yield is a high 3.7%. (We also cover Torstar in our Successful Investor newsletter.)
When to trust your dividends
“One of the best ways to judge whether a company will keep paying its dividend, or even increase it, is the dividend payout ratio. This simply measures what portion of a company’s earnings are allotted to paying dividends. If a company keeps its payout ratio fairly steady, say at 7% of earnings, and its earnings grow…”
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Torstar publishes The Toronto Star, which is Canada’s largest daily newspaper in terms of circulation. The company also publishes three other daily papers and over 100 weeklies, mainly in southern Ontario.
Like most newspaper publishers, Torstar has suffered because of free or low-cost Internet competition in news and ads, as well as the recession. The company’s sales stagnated for the past decade. Profits shrank, and the company lost $2.30 a share in 2008.
That prompted Torstar to aggressively cut its costs, which has helped it stay profitable, despite the weak economy. In the three months to June 30, 2010, it earned $0.48 a share (excluding one-time charges), up 37.1% from $0.35 a year earlier. Revenue also rose slightly, including a 3.6% revenue increase at Torstar’s newspapers and web sites.
More important for the dividend paying stock’s long-term prospects, its often-underappreciated Harlequin subsidiary could be poised to make a big contribution to its online future — and the iPad is set to play a leading role.
Harlequin subsidiary diversifies Torstar’s business — and helps it tap into iPad profits
Harlequin is the world’s largest publisher of romance novels. It also publishes non-fiction titles, such as self-help and diet books. Despite the weak economy, Harlequin’s earnings have risen in each of the past three years. To further spur its growth, the subsidiary recently began selling its romance novels as e-books for the Amazon Kindle and other e-book readers.
Later this year, it will start selling Harlequin e-books for the Apple iPad. Selling e-books for the iPad gives Torstar great potential for gains. That’s because the lightweight, versatile, easy-to-use iPad may appeal to a vastly bigger market than larger laptops or text-only e-book readers.
You can get our full analysis, including our clear buy/sell/hold advice, on Torstar and 18 other safety-conscious investments in the latest Canadian Wealth Advisor. What’s more, you get this issue free when you subscribe today. Click here to learn how.
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