Even though interest rates have crept higher over the past 18 months, they are still at some of the lowest levels in over a generation. While the Federal Reserve will continue to slowly raise rates, the 30-year Treasury bond still has a paltry 3.06% yield. Pretty small for committing capital to an investment for 30 years.
The problem for many income investors is they need higher yields but cannot risk buying junk bonds or highly leveraged closed end and exchange traded funds. The answer may be to look back to the equity markets, as some of the top stocks that have paid consistent, dependable long-term dividends have been hammered.
We screened our 24/7 Wall St. research database and found five companies that all pay at least a 5% dividend, are rated Buy, and offer a reasonable degree of safety. While not intended to replace guaranteed issues like Treasury bonds or certificates of deposit, they make sense for those income investors who have a slightly higher risk tolerance.
This stock has been absolutely hammered and may be a great total return play. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the world’s largest provider of pay TV, with TV customers in the United States and 11 Latin American countries. In the United States, the AT&T wireless network has the nation’s self-described strongest 4G LTE signal and most reliable 4G LTE. The company also helps businesses worldwide serve their customers better with mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.
With its shares trading at a very cheap 9.4 times estimated 2018 earnings, the company continues to expand its user base, and strong product introductions from smartphone vendors have not only driven traffic but increased device financing plans.
AT&T reported first-quarter results that missed consensus estimates, sending its shares down sharply in April, as it lost subscribers to its satellite and U-verse services. Despite the hit, the company still generates solid and dependable earnings and dividends.
AT&T shareholders receive a hefty 6.2% dividend. The analysts at Jefferies have a $40 price target. That compares with the Wall Street consensus of $38.07. The shares closed trading Friday at $32.47.
This maker of tobacco products and wine also has been hit hard, and it offers value investors a great entry point. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is a top mega-cap consumer discretionary stock to buy on Wall Street, and the company’s Marlboro brand remains one of the most recognizable in the world. Many Wall Street analysts concede that the stock has solid downside support owing to the generous dividend yield, which remains at a huge premium in relation to the 10-year Treasury rate.
Cash flow generation and the return of cash to Altria shareholders remain key facets of the company’s total shareholder return, and the analysts expect support of the strong dividend, which they believe will continue to climb along with strong share repurchase activity. The board also raised the dividend by 8.2% in 2017.
To diversify away from cigarettes and cigars, Altria has expanded its portfolio into new categories like wine, e-cigarettes and a 27% stake in brewer SABMiller.
Even though Altria released earnings for its first quarter that rose from the same period last year, the stock was hit sank to a 52-week low.
Altria investors receive a 5.02% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $70 price target, and the consensus estimate is $70.38 The stock closed trading Friday at $55.72.