Dividend stocks have a history of vastly outperforming their non-dividend-paying peers.
Dec. 8, 2020
In less than seven weeks, Donald Trump’s presidency will end, and President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Wall Street typically isn’t a big fan of change, but this is a rare instance when the stars appear to have aligned for the stock market.
A Biden presidency is likely to result in additional fiscal stimulus to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). When coupled with the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates near historic lows through at least 2023, the table is set for equities to thrive.
Furthermore, Wall Street is expecting a split Congress. If a Republican candidate wins just one of the two remaining Senate seats in Georgia’s runoff elections in the first week of January, the GOP will have a Senate majority. That means Biden’s big-picture tax hikes would likely fail to become law. The status quo is a positive for corporate America.
What type of stocks should you buy to take advantage of a Biden bull market? If you thought of dividend stocks, you’re probably on a winning path.
Historically, dividend stocks have run circles around stocks that don’t pay dividends. In 2013, J.P. Morgan Asset Management published a report comparing the returns of companies initiating and growing a dividend between 1972 and 2012 to no-dividend peers. The dividend-paying stocks generated an annualized return of 9.5% over this four-decade stretch, which was almost five times better than the 1.6% annualized gain for nondividend stocks.
This probably goes without saying, but companies that regularly pay a dividend are also usually profitable and have relatively transparent long-term growth outlooks.
If you’re looking to pad your portfolio with some serious income, I’d suggest buying the following five dividend stocks for a Biden bull market.
Its growth heyday may be long gone, but that’s no reason for income seekers to turn down an opportunity to buy into telecom giant AT&T (NYSE:T) for 9 times Wall Street’s forward earnings forecast.
While I’m fairly certain that AT&T can’t wait for consumer spending to pick back up, the biggest catalyst during a Biden presidency will be the ongoing rollout of 5G networks. It’s been a decade since wireless companies upgraded their infrastructure, suggesting that consumers and enterprises will be eager to take advantage of faster download speeds. We should see a multiyear tech upgrade cycle that helps buoy AT&T’s higher-margin, data-driven wireless segment.
Low corporate tax rates will also help AT&T continue to reduce its debt burden while focusing on higher growth initiatives, such as streaming. AT&T launched HBO Max in late May and has had 8.6 million customers activate their subscriptions as of mid-October.
The 7.2% yield offered by AT&T looks exceptionally safe, and it could double your initial investment in a decade with reinvestment.
With the rise of ESG investing, tobacco stocks aren’t for everyone. If owning vice stocks isn’t a concern, though, then Altria Group (NYSE:MO) is a very high-yield dividend stock to buy for a Biden bull market.
Despite U.S. adult cigarette smoking rates hitting an all-time low of 14% in 2019, Altria’s top and bottom line keep chugging forward, albeit modestly. The addictive nature of nicotine keeps users hooked. That allows Altria to pass along substantial price hikes to offset any volume-based weakness. Since a majority of the company’s sales stem from its premium Marlboro brand, Altria doesn’t have to worry about pricing smokers out of its products.
Altria is also exploring smoking alternatives to boost sales. It’s introducing the IQOS heated tobacco system into a handful of new markets in the U.S., and holds a 45% equity stake in Canadian pot stock Cronos Group. Expect Altria to assist Cronos with the development, marketing, and perhaps even distribution of cannabis vape products.
Altria’s 8.6% yield is tough to beat, especially when most bank CDs are yielding well below 1%.
Annaly Capital Management
The stars are also beginning to align for mortgage real estate investment trusts (REITs) like Annaly Capital Management (NYSE:NLY).
Annaly makes money by borrowing capital at short-term rates and acquiring longer-term assets with a higher yield, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The difference between this long-term yield and short-term borrowing rate is the net interest margin (NIT). The higher the NIT, the more money Annaly makes. The yield curve typically steepens substantially during young bull markets, which implies that Annaly’s NIT should widen a lot in the coming years.
Annaly also focuses predominantly on agency-only MBS. This is to say that it buys assets backed by the federal government in case of default. The yields on agency assets are lower than non-agency assets, but the added safety is what allows Annaly to use leverage to its advantage when buying MBS.
Currently valued at 93% of book value and sporting a delectable 10.8% yield, Annaly has the tools to deliver for income investors during a Biden bull market.
Innovative Industrial Properties
Another way to generate some serious green with dividend stocks is by purchasing Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR). Although it’s a REIT, it’s the only pure-play marijuana stock that pays a dividend.
The company’s business model is pretty simple. It acquires medical marijuana growing and processing sites and leases these assets for long periods (10 to 20 years). Innovative Industrial Properties is reaping the rewards of highly predictable rental income, while also passing along rental increases each year to stay ahead of the inflationary curve. As of mid-November, the company owned 64 properties in 16 states, with a weighted-average lease length of 16.3 years.
Innovative Industrial’s focus on sale-leaseback agreements is yet another key growth driver. Since cannabis is an illicit substance at the federal level, U.S. marijuana companies sometimes struggle to access loans and lines of credit. Innovative Industrial resolves this issue by acquiring assets for cash and immediately leasing them back to the seller. It’s a win-win for all parties.
Having increased its quarterly payout by 680% over the past three years, this company and its 3.1% yield have all the tools to lead shareholders to greener pastures.
Tech stocks aren’t known for providing bountiful dividends, but semiconductor giant Broadcom(NASDAQ:AVGO) obviously didn’t get that memo.
Broadcom, like AT&T, stands to benefit from the 5G rollout. A majority of the company’s business is tied to the development of wireless chips and other accessories found in smartphones. With a multiyear tech upgrade cycle coming for consumers and businesses, demand for Broadcom’s connectivity solutions should remain strong.
However, it’s not just smartphone upgrades that can push Broadcom’s valuation higher. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown businesses how important it is to have an online and cloud presence. A Biden bull market is likely to yield a substantive increase in cloud usage, which in turn is a boon for corporate and third-party data centers. As a provider of connectivity and access chips for data centers, Broadcom is sitting in the sweet spot of the data revolution.
Not to be outdone by Innovative Industrial Properties, Broadcom has increased its quarterly payout by over 4,500% in the last decade and is currently yielding a healthy 3.3%.
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