Waste Management stock risks 10-15 pct drop - Barron's

NEW YORK Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:18pm EDT

NEW YORK Aug 19 (Reuters) - Investors have been attracted to Waste Management Inc's high dividends, but the stock of the trash hauling company is at risk of falling as much as 10 percent to 15 percent if it continues missing profit expectations, Barron's financial weekly reported on Sunday.

Waste Management's revenue, earnings, margins and cash flow have been stagnant for years as many investors seem content collecting a 4 percent annual yield on the stock, Barron's said.

It said a Waste Management spokeswoman noted that the company already has started to slow its rate of dividend increases. After two years of 10-cent increases, the payout was up 6 cents a share in 2012 from 2011.

"With smaller increases, the stock is likely dead money at best, and is at risk of falling 10 percent to 15 percent toward $30 if the company's habit of missing profit expectations continues," the Barron's report said.

Waste Management closed at $35.66 per share on Friday.

The dividend consumes most of Waste Management's net income and free cash flow, Barron's said. It said a few corporate insiders had sold about 180,000 shares during the past six months near current prices instead of holding them for the attractive dividend.

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