Medical device maker Medtronic is a well-priced consistent performer

Medical device maker Medtronic is a well-priced consistent performer

Medical device specialist Medtronic offers surgical, cardiac, neurological and diabetes products, among others. It’s dealing with some self-inflicted wounds right now, as product delays have investors worried that near-term results will be weak. That’s pushed the stock lower and the dividend yield toward historically high levels, near 3.4%. So Medtronic seems attractively priced right now, as supply chain issues and product approvals should be resolved eventually.

Medtronic’s growth has been rather consistent over time. While you might put off buying the latest cellphone, you can’t put off a pacemaker if your heart needs one. Over the past decade, Medtronic’s dividend has grown at an annualized clip of over 9%, and the company has now increased the dividend for 45 consecutive years.

What’s going on with its new products? Well, Medtronic’s surgery robot has been installed for testing and is being well-received, but it still lacks approval to be sold in the U.S. Given positive feedback from its users abroad, Medtronic is confident about the future. The story is roughly the same with its new glucose-monitoring product.

The technology on the way looks strong and should support growth over the long term. Patient investors — especially those seeking income — should give Medtronic a closer look.

Ask the Fool

From P.W., Pueblo, Colo.: How do I fix a mistake in the federal tax return I’ve filed?

The Fool responds: The IRS lets you file an amended return, via Form 1040-X, to correct any errors. (In fact, you can even amend that return later, with another Form 1040-X.)

Corrected returns are necessary if you filed with the wrong filing status, failed to report some income or need to add or remove a tax deduction or credit. They’re generally not needed for math mistakes or an omitted form; the IRS often corrects math errors on its own and may just write to you, asking for missing information.

Using tax-preparation software can help reduce errors. Learn more at by typing “1040-X” into the search box. (Look into whether you need to correct your state tax return, as well.)

From S.N., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: I’ve seen some politicians criticizing stock buybacks. Are they really bad?

The Fool responds: Not necessarily. When a company repurchases some of its shares, it essentially retires them. This can benefit shareholders, as fewer shares outstanding means each remaining share represents a larger stake in the company.

Imagine a pizza cut into eight pieces. If you cut it into four pieces instead, each one would be bigger. Similarly, if you own 100 of a company’s 1,000 shares, you own 10% of it. But if it buys back 500 shares, your 100 shares now make up 20% of the company.

A company should buy back shares only when they’re undervalued or fairly valued, though. Otherwise, it’s destroying value by spending money that could be more productively spent in other ways, such as paying down debt or building a new factory.

The Fool’s School

Most of us would love to get a raise — but relatively few of us actually ask for one. A 2022 CNBC/Momentive survey found that only about 11% of respondents had asked for a raise recently. A 2018 survey found that only 37% of people had ever asked for a raise — and, surprisingly, fully 70% of those folks received one. Here are some tips for how to ask for and, ideally, get a raise:

Be strategic: It helps to truly deserve a raise — or at least if your boss thinks you do. You can make yourself look especially valuable by (among other things) bringing in new business, being viewed as an expert people consult regularly or making your boss look good. The more you’re seen as productive and a pleasure to work with, the more your managers may want to keep you around. But pick a good time to ask for a raise, such as when your company is doing well.

Be informed: Do some research to learn what others in similar roles are earning at your company and elsewhere. Sites such as, and can help you determine how much of a raise to ask for. (Ask for a bit more than that, in case you’re offered a bit less.)

Be persuasive: Make the strongest case you can. If possible, demonstrate your accomplishments specifically, with phrases such as: “The marketing campaign I designed resulted in 20% more new customers than expected.” “I’ve earned two new certifications.” “I’ve cut costs in my department by 12%, saving the company $600,000.”

Be polished: Rehearse the conversation with a friend or colleague. Don’t complain about your job or the current pay. Instead, seek a win-win resolution, with you earning more and the company continuing to benefit from your talents.

Ideally, you’ll snag that raise. If you’re refused, ask whether the company can offer you something else —such as a better job title, more vacation days, reimbursement for education or a more flexible work schedule.

My Dumbest Investment

From C.L., online: My most regrettable investing move happened long ago. I had money in an IRA account and had been watching the semiconductor company Qualcomm for a while. I knew that it’s important to understand the companies you invest in, and that was easy, as I lived in San Diego, Calif., where it’s headquartered. I finally bought some shares, then watched it fluctuate below my purchase price. When the stock price finally rose, I sold half my shares to diversify. After that, I watched Qualcomm’s price soar. Are you sure there aren’t any “mulligans” in the stock market?

The Fool responds: Nope — sorry, you don’t get any do-overs in investing. (Though a stock you miss out on might return to a lower price one day, giving you a second chance at it.)

Qualcomm has indeed been a great stock performer, rising more than 4,000% over the past 25 years. Selling half your stake wasn’t necessarily a bad move, though. If you had a large portion of your money in that one stock, for example, selling some was reasonable.

For best investing results, it’s not enough to know just a few things about a company. You should study it well enough to know exactly how it makes its money, among other things. (Qualcomm’s business model involves not only selling a wide range of chips, but also licensing wireless technology.)

Who am I?

I trace my roots back to the 1946 founding of the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp. My first consumer product was a rice cooker. My pocket-sized transistor radio, launched in 1957, was a global success. I revised my name in 1958 to reflect the Latin word for “sound.” I debuted an iconic cassette player in 1979. Today, I’m a conglomerate operating in entertainment (including film and music), electronics (like cameras, televisions and mobile devices) and more. I recently employed more than 100,000 people and had a market value of $110 billion. P.S.: I launched a video game console in 1994.

Can’t remember last week’s trivia question? Find it here.

Last week’s trivia answer: Sherwin-Williams

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