Dividend stocks are everywhere, but many just downright stink. In some cases, the business model is in serious jeopardy, or the dividend itself isn’t sustainable. In others, the dividend is so low, it’s not even worth the paper your dividend check is printed on. A solid dividend strikes the right balance of growth, value, and sustainability.
Today, and one day each week for the rest of the year, we’re going to look at one dividend-paying company that you can put in your portfolio for the long term without too much concern. This isn’t to say that these stocks don’t share the same macro risks that other companies have, but they are a step above your common grade of dividend stock. Check out last week’s selection.
This week, I’m going completely contrarian to recent sentiment and pointing out why application software firm Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) could represent an attractive income opportunity for investors over the long run.
Is Oracle outdated?
The biggest fear of investors that’s been played out in two straight quarters for Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) is that the software giant is being left in the dust by its peers when it comes to the cloud-computing revolution. Oracle has traditionally made its money by licensing its software to enterprises and, to a lesser extent, through hardware sales via its purchase of Sun Microsystems. Neither has been a particularly strong growth point for Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), with enterprises turning to cloud software that allows employees to access company-critical data from a data center regardless of location rather than just their desktop computer.
Similarly, hardware sales have hit a brick wall — just ask Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) . Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)’s PC sales dipped by 20% in the second quarter, with an even larger revenue hit of 37% from its business critical system segment. I’ll give some partial leeway to Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) given that it’s early on in the midst of a restructuring that’ll see 29,000 people lose their jobs, but it’s nonetheless seeing hardware sales evaporate. Although Oracle derived only $849 million of its $11 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter from hardware, that didn’t stop investors from being concerned about its ongoing underperformance.
If you can’t beat them, join them!
Investors jumped all over Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) like a pack of wild dogs chasing a rabbit following its fourth-quarter earnings release, which featured a revenue shortfall, but I think it’s taking all the right steps to ensure a future of outperformance.
If there was any doubt that Oracle was trailing its peers in with regard to cloud-computing development, then many investors’ fears should be allayed with not one, not two, but three partnerships announced within the past week! Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) has come to the conclusion that if it can’t catch its peers, it’ll simply use its promising cash flow and brand name to bully its way into the sector.
Perhaps the most intriguing of these partnerships is the knot-tying between Oracle and previously bitter rival salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) . It’s no secret that salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) has found its niche as a cloud company that understands what consumers want, but it lacks the branding and customer list to rapidly grow its business. Conversely, Oracle has a monstrous list of vertically integrated companies that’d gladly buy if it met their needs cloud needs, which, up until now, it really hasn’t. This partnership could actually turn out to be quite lucrative for both companies, as it perfectly cancels out each other’s primary weakness.