3 reasons to keep a close watch on Telstra Corporation Ltd shares in 2016

Credit: Olivia Wilson

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) is already Australia’s leading telecommunications company, but it’s showing no sign of slowing down.

Here are three reasons to keep a close watch on Telstra shares in 2016:

1. Dividends

Telstra’s dividend is currently forecast at 31.5 cents per share, fully franked over the 2016 financial year. At its current share price of $5.59, the telco is forecast to yield an impressive dividend of 5.63% fully franked or 8% grossed up. In a year with record-low interest rates, Telstra’s reliable dividend yield could help keep it at the top of income-hungry investor’s watchlists.

2. Reliability

Telstra’s share price is down 14.7% year over year. That’s not ideal. However, compared to the ASX’s other ‘safe’ blue-chip dividend shares, like BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB), that’s not actually too bad. Telstra’s incumbency and leadership in non-discretionary markets like mobiles, fixed broadband and more, affords it a higher level of perceived safety to other ‘safe’ blue chips, in my opinion.

3. Growth

In the year ahead, analysts are forecasting both profit and dividend per dividend growth from Telstra. In my opinion, Telstra’s focus on Asia, cash windfall from the government’s NBN Co, investments in emerging technologies and strong balance sheet should see the company modestly grow earnings over the medium-term. Telstra is no high-growth stock, but combining low single-digit growth with those lovely dividend yields should see the company beat the market.

Foolish Takeaway

Telstra is one of a few ASX blue chips I’d happily buy to hold for the long-term. However, it is currently priced to perfection and, therefore, does not present a compelling investment. Nonetheless, I’ve got Telstra shares plugged into my share watchlist for 2016 in the hope that it may fall in price and offer me a suitable entry point.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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