When it comes to finding the best dividend-paying stocks, there are a few key things you need to look for. The most important is that the company is able to consistently pay out dividends over time, regardless of what the market is doing. You also want to find companies with a strong financial position, so that you know they’ll be able to continue paying out those dividends even in tough times. And finally, you’ll want to find companies with a history of increasing their dividends year after year.
All of these factors together make for some of the safest and most reliable and high dividend stocks around. So if you’re looking for solid dividend income investments, here are seven of the best stocks right now.
1. Johnson & Johnson
Dividend yield: 2.82%
One of the most iconic names in healthcare, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has been a dividend powerhouse for decades. It’s raised its dividend every year for more than 50 years in a row, and it currently sports a yield of 4%.
That payout is well-covered by earnings, too. Johnson & Johnson has a payout ratio of just 54%, meaning that it could easily afford to double its pay dividends if it wanted to. And with a strong balance sheet and plenty of free cash flow, there’s no reason to think that Johnson & Johnson won’t keep paying (and raising) its dividend growth for years to come.
2. ExxonMobil (XOM)
Dividend yield: 3.48%
ExxonMobil is a large, multinational oil and gas corporation based in the United States. They use technology and innovation to help fulfill the world’s increasing energy demands. ExxonMobil has operations in almost all countries around the world and its diverse business lines include oil and gas exploration, production, transportation, marketing, and refining.
As of 2022, ExxonMobil was the largest of the world’s publicly traded oil and gas companies with operations in over 30 countries. The company was ranked ninth on the Fortune 500 list for 2018.
ExxonMobil has a long history of paying and increasing dividend payments. They have paid dividends for over 100 years and have increased their dividend investors for 34 consecutive years. The company’s dividend yield is 3.48%.
Dividend yield: 7.43%
AT&T Inc.’s (T) journey to become the best dividend stock has been a long and eventful one. The company has increased its dividend for 32 consecutive years, making it a Dividend Aristocrat.
The telecom giant is facing some headwinds, as the cord-cutting trend continues to eat into its traditional wireline business. But AT&T has been proactive in responding to this challenge, acquiring DirecTV in 2015 to become the largest pay-TV provider in the U.S.
AT&T is also benefiting from the earnings growth of its wireless business, as well as its expanding portfolio of content and advertising assets. The company’s recent acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (TWX) gives it a valuable lineup of programming that it can use to attract subscribers to its DirecTV and U-Verse platforms.
4. Procter & Gamble
Dividend yields: 2.94%
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, with a vast portfolio of well-known brands spanning multiple categories. The company has increased its dividend for an incredible 62 consecutive years, making it one of the Dividend Kings.
P&G’s dividend currently yields 2.94%, and the company has a dividend payout ratio of just 59.8%. That gives it plenty of room to continue paying and increasing its dividend, even in tough times.
5. Abbott Laboratories
Dividend yield: 1.85%
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is a diversified healthcare company with a wide range of products and services. The company has a long history of paying dividends and is a Dividend Aristocrat. Abbott has increased its annual dividend for 48 consecutive years and currently has a dividend yield of 1.85%.
In addition to its strong dividend history, Abbott also has a solid balance sheet and generates a significant amount of cash flow. These characteristics give the company the financial flexibility to continue paying and increasing its dividend in the years ahead.
Dividend yield: 2.13%
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers. The company operates over 2,200 stores in the United States and Canada. Lowe’s is a Dividend Aristocrat and has increased its dividend for 53 consecutive years. The company’s attractive dividend yield is 2.13%.
Lowe’s reported strong fiscal first-quarter results in early May. The company’s revenue increased 7.5% year-over-year to $20.8 billion, while its adjusted earnings per share rose 19% to $1.22. Lowe’s attributed the strong results to favorable weather conditions, which boosted demand for seasonal products, and continued implementation of its strategic initiatives.
Lowe’s is benefiting from the strong housing market. The company’s same-store sales have increased for 12 consecutive quarters. Lowe’s is also experiencing growth in its online sales, which rose 30% year-over-year in the first quarter.
Lowe’s is well-positioned to continue its impressive growth streak. The company is investing in initiatives to drive traffic and sales, such as expanding its online product assortment, increasing its store count, and remodeling existing stores. Lowe’s is also returning cash to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.
7. Verizon Communications (VZ)
Dividend yield: 5.8%
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is one of the world’s largest telecom companies. The company has a high dividend yield of 5.8% and a payout ratio of 25.7%. Verizon has increased its dividend for 10 consecutive years.
Verizon is also benefiting from the expansion of its fiber-optic network. The company’s FiOS Internet and TV business continues to grow, with revenue rising 5.7% year-over-year in the first quarter.
Verizon is investing heavily in its network to improve its customer experience and drive growth. The company plans to deploy 5G technology in 30 cities by the end of 2018. Verizon is also working on new initiatives to monetize its network, such as developing a home internet service over its fiber-optic network.
These are some of the best dividend-paying stocks to buy today. These companies have strong competitive advantages, solid financial fundamentals, and a history of paying and increasing their dividends.
While there are no guarantees in the stock market, these best dividend stocks for income investors are well-positioned to weather any storms that may come their way and continue rewarding shareholders with rising dividends.
However, not all dividend stocks are equal. Be sure to do your own research before investing in any stock.
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