Johnson & Johnson: Accelerating Their Virus Vaccine Development And The Buy Of Momenta With Debt Is A Good Move (NYSE:JNJ)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is a buy for the dividend growth and total return investor. Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of medical products and pharmaceuticals. JNJ is a conservative investment that should be in all portfolios, being defensive when the market and economy are weak. The 58th dividend increase in a row was declared in April 2020 for an increase from 0.95/Qtr to 1.01/Qtr or a 6% increase.

One thing I think that is keeping JNJ down is the lawsuits concerning asbestos in their talcum powder. This is overdone, giving you a chance to buy JNJ at a fair price. A previous article of mine from January 2020 shows how the appeal courts generally reduce the damages that juries assign.

The latest punitive damages suit for Risperdal has recently been reduced from $8 billion to $6.8 million by the courts. Most states have limits on punitive damages, so the original amounts are usually greatly reduced on appeal, as shown in the recent case for Risperdal.

Johnson & Johnson is 9% of The Good Business Portfolio. The company has steady growth and has plenty of cash it uses to buy bolt-on companies, develop new drugs, and increase the dividend each year.

As I have said before in previous articles,

I use a set of guidelines that I codified over the last few years to review the companies in The Good Business Portfolio (my portfolio) and other companies that I am reviewing. For a complete set of guidelines, please see my article “The Good Business Portfolio: Update to Guidelines, March 2020”. These guidelines provide me with a balanced portfolio of income, defensive, total return, and growing companies that hopefully keeps me ahead of the Dow average.

When I scanned the ten-year chart, Johnson & Johnson has a good chart going up and to the right for 2009-2018 in a moderate solid pattern with the last 2.5 years being flat because of the lawsuits and a dip from the COVID-19 Virus which in the long run will help JNJ when they win the approval of their Virus vaccine.

ChartData by YCharts

Fundamentals and company business review

The method I use to compare companies is first to look at the total return, as shown from my previous articles in the section below.

The Good Business Portfolio Guidelines are just a screen to start with and not absolute rules. When I look at a company, the total return is a key parameter to see if it fits the objective of the Good Business Portfolio. My total return guideline is that total return must be greater than the Dow’s total return over my test period. Johnson & Johnson beat against the Dow baseline in my 56-month test compared to the Dow average. I chose the 56-month test period (starting January 1, 2016, and ending to date) because it includes the great year of 2017 and 2019, and other years that had a fair and bad performance.

The good Johnson & Johnson total return of 68.33% beating the Dow base makes Johnson & Johnson a good investment for the total return investor. The total return has increased from my last JNJ article by about 10%. Looking back five years, $10,000 invested five years ago would now be worth over $17,100 today. This gain makes Johnson & Johnson a good investment for the total return investor looking back, which has future growth as the United States and foreign economies continue to grow as the Virus gets under control.

Dow’s 56 Month total return baseline is 55.63%

Company name

56 Month total return

The difference from Dow baseline

Yearly dividend percentage

Johnson & Johnson




Johnson & Johnson does meet my dividend guideline of having dividend increase for 8 of the last ten years and having a minimum of 1% yield. Johnson & Johnson has an above-average dividend yield of 2.7% and has had increases for 58 years, making it a good choice for the dividend growth investor. The dividend was last increased in April 2020 for an increase from 0.95/Qtr. to 1.01/Qtr. or a 6% increase. The next dividend increase is estimated by me to be in April 2021 to $1.07/Qtr. or a 6.0% increase based on the past few updates each year. This increase will make 59 years of increasing dividends in good and bad times. The five-year average payout ratio is moderate, at 58%. After paying the dividend, this leaves cash remaining for increasing the business of the company by buying bolt-on companies and new drug development, including the COVID-19 Virus vaccine.

I only like large-capitalization companies, and my guideline is that the capitalization should be at least greater than $10 Billion. Johnson & Johnson easily passes my guideline. Johnson & Johnson is a large-cap company with a capitalization of $394 Billion.

My cash flow guideline wants the cash flow to be strongly positive, Johnson & Johnson 2020 projected operating cash flow at $24 Billion is great, allowing the company to have the means for company growth and increasing dividends each year. Large-cap companies like Johnson & Johnson have the cash and ability to buy other smaller companies and overcome any storms that might come along. You can’t make up cash, as some other companies did in the past. Right now, JNJ is buying Momenta using debt because the interest rates are very low, which is good capital management. This gives the company more cash for product and drug development.

One of my guidelines is the S&P CFRA must be three or better. Johnson & Johnson S&P CFRA rating is four stars or buy with a target price to $160. Johnson & Johnson’s price is below the target by 11.1% and has a moderate forward P/E of 19, making it a good buy at this entry point. I rate Johnson & Johnson as a buy to take advantage of the low price due to the lawsuits and the possible gain from the virus vaccine development.

I look for the earnings of my positions to consistently beat their quarterly estimates. For the last quarter on July 16, 2020, Johnson & Johnson reported earnings that beat expected by $0.19 at $1.67, compared to last year at $2.58. Total revenue was lower at $18.34 Billion less than a year ago by 10.8% year over year and beat expected revenue by $606 Million. This was a mixed report with bottom-line and top-line beating expected and a decrease in earnings from last year. The next earnings report will be out in October 2020 and is expected to be $1.93 compared to last year at $0.66, a good increase. The second-quarter earnings report shows the resilience of the company and makes JNJ a buy even with the pandemic making a comparison to last year’s earnings almost worthless. The graphic below gives a summary of the second quarter’s earnings data showing the impact of the Virus, but JNJ has shown that over many downturns the company keeps growing and increasing the dividend for 58 years in a row.

Source: Earnings call slides

My guidelines also require the S&P CFRA CAGR going forward to be able to cover my yearly expenses and my RMD with a CAGR of 7%. My dividends provide 3.3% of the portfolio as income, and I need 1.9% more for a yearly distribution of 5.2% plus an inflation cushion of 1.8%. The three-year forward S&P CFRA CAGR of 5% misses my guideline requirement. The future growth for Johnson & Johnson can continue its slow uptrend benefiting from the continued strong growth of the worldwide and United States economies as the Virus gets under control. The pipeline of drugs is extensive with growth, as shown in the graphic below, which should allow better growth of 8%, meeting my guideline.

Source: Earnings call slides

One of my guidelines is, would you buy the whole company if you could. I would buy JNJ in a heartbeat, the above-average growing dividend makes Johnson & Johnson a good business to own for income, and the future estimated growth meets my requirement of 7%. My Portfolio likes to embrace all kinds of investment styles but concentrates on buying businesses that can be understood, makes a fair profit, invests profits back into the business, and also generates a good income stream. Most of all, what makes Johnson & Johnson interesting is the long-term dividend history of 58 years of growing dividends and the strong pipeline of new drugs, including the COVID-19 vaccine. JNJ announced last week that it intends to start phase 3 testing of its COVID-19 vaccine in September with 60,000 people in the test group, twice the number of any other company test group. They hope to be able to verify results faster than if they only tested 30,000.

A fuller description of the JNJ worldwide business is shown from Reuters

Johnson & Johnson is engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of a range of products in the healthcare field. It operates through three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices. Its primary focus is on products related to human health and well-being. Its research facilities are located in the United States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Overall, Johnson & Johnson is a good defensive diversified medical business with my moderate estimated CAGR of 8% projected growth as the worldwide economy grows going forward with the increasing population and control of the COVID-19 Virus. The good earnings, revenue growth, and primarily the positive cash flow give JNJ the capability to continue its growth and have enough cash to increase the dividend each year and expand the business.

Johnson & Johnson’s second-quarter highlights for the company’s medical device products are shown in the graphic below. This is only a small part of their business but shows the scope of the company’s products; it’s not just Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Earnings call slides

From the 2nd quarter, earnings call are a few highlights that show the accelerated COVID-19 virus development and production. The plan announced on March 30 was to have a preclinical study done by September. The strong immunity of the preliminary tests allowed them to accelerate the development, so they are now testing the Ad26 vaccine on more than 1,000 healthy adults with the study sites in the United States and Belgium. It is now planned to start the phase III study in late September. In parallel, they are also expanding their global manufacturing capacity and expect to deliver more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine by the end of 2021.

This shows the feelings of top management for the continued moderate growth of the Johnson & Johnson business with an increase in future growth. Johnson & Johnson has good constant growth and will continue as the United States and foreign economies grow. The cash flow is good to allow company growth, increase the yearly dividend, and to take care of the pending lawsuits. The company has 26 products that bring in one billion dollars each giving the company a balance between over the counter products and the pharmaceutical drugs, making JNJ a solid diversified medical business.


Johnson & Johnson is a good investment choice for the dividend growth and total return investor with its above-average dividend yield and diversified medical business. Johnson & Johnson is 9% of The Good Business Portfolio. I have been greedy and have let Johnson & Johnson grow to a large position in the portfolio, and I will trim it a bit in the future when it gets to 10% of the portfolio. If you want a growing dividend income in a defensive business, JNJ is the right investment for you. The entry price right now is fair long term with a yearly gain potential of 11.1% possible when the talcum powder lawsuits are better defined, and JNJ has its virus vaccine approved.

The total return for the Good Business Portfolio is ahead of the Dow average from 1/1/2020 to August 21 by 0.24%, which is a small gain above the market loss of 2.13% for the Dow with Boeing (BA) a strong drag but getting better. Each quarter after the earnings season, I write an article giving a complete portfolio list and performance, the latest article is titled “The Good Business Portfolio: 2020 2nd Quarter Earnings and Performance Review”. Become a real-time follower, and you will get each quarter’s performance for my portfolio companies after this earnings season is over.

Disclosure: I am/we are long BA, JNJ, HD, EOS, DHR, MO, DIS, V, OHI, IR. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Of course, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell, and you should always do your own research and talk to your financial advisor before any purchase or sale. This is how I manage my IRA retirement account, and the opinions of the companies are my own.

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