BlackRock Global Dividend Income
Around the globe pick: Europe
Unilever may be headquartered in Europe, but it's thriving in emerging markets. The purveyor of packaged foods and consumer products does more than 50% of its sales in the developing world, and those sales have risen 12% this year, excluding the effect of acquisitions. Stuart Reeve, manager of the $1.2 billion BlackRock Global Dividend Income Fund (, says the company has a strong advantage overseas. "Unilever has been in India for well over 70 years," says Reeve, whose fund has returned 9.4% a year over the past three years, topping 83% of world stock funds. While other businesses are just setting up sales networks and supply chains in emerging markets, he says, Unilever is already up and running. "They're well positioned to get their products in front of consumers without employing extra costs." )
That's one reason Unilever boasts a healthy 14% operating margin and why it's able to return 50% of its free cash flow to shareholders. Over the past few years, Reeve says, it has consistently raised its dividend at a rate of 6% to 8% per year. He expects Unilever's payout -- the stock currently yields 3.3% -- to continue its ascent over the next few years.
Beware of munis priced at bubble levels. They'll always pop in the end.