December was a rough month for investors, with the major exchanges putting up losses not seen since the 1930s. While this solidified concerns of a bear market, it also drove investors into more defensive stocks with sizable market caps and big dividends.
Short-term interest rates have risen in 2018 as well, after having risen in 2017, but long-term rates remain lower than many strategists would have expected. Those Treasury rates also still look quite low by historical standards beyond the past decade. In 2019, more investors are worried that interest rates are going to keep rising this year.
For reference, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was just 2.708% on Thursday, with the 30-year Treasury’s long bond yielding 3.015%. Ultimately this means that the top 20 yielding stocks in the S&P 500 are all paying way better dividends than both the 10-year Treasury and 30-year Treasury.
It’s worth noting that dividend yields change all the time and as of Wednesday’s closing prices, these are the highest yielding stocks in the S&P 500.
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) normally boasts a strong dividend as one of the larger companies within the telecom industry. In this case, CenturyLink leads the S&P 500 as the highest yielding stock in the index. Shares were recently trading at $16.17, in a 52-week range of $13.97 to $24.20. The stock has a market cap of $17.4 billion and a dividend yield of 13.4%.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) historically has paid a decent dividend as one of the biggest automakers in the nation. However, this rank is more the result of shares dropping by more than one-third in the past year. Ford stock currently yields 6.9%. Shares were trading at $8.72, in a 52-week range of $7.41 to $13.48. The market cap is $34.4 billion.
Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that is one of the largest owners and operators of open-air shopping centers in North America. Shares were trading at $15.74, in a 52-week range of $13.16 to $17.96. The market cap is $6.6 billion and the dividend yield is 7.1%.
Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) operates a storage and information management business, which stores and protects billions of valued assets, including critical business information, highly sensitive data and cultural and historical artifacts. The firm has more than 1,400 facilities in over 50 countries that serve over 225,000 different organizations. Iron Mountain boasts a dividend yield of 7.1%. Shares were trading at $34.42, in a 52-week range of $30.22 to $37.11. The market cap is $9.8 billion.
Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm provides its services to retail clients, institutional clients, public entities, corporations, unions and many more. Shares were trading at $17.32, in a 52-week range of $15.38 to $38.43. The $7.1 billion market cap comes with a dividend yield of 6.9%.
Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) is one of the largest tobacco firms in North America. It historically has been known as a defensive play due to the nature of its products. It currently yields 6.7%. Shares were trading at $67.91, in a 52-week range of $64.67 to $111.25. The market cap is $106.4 billion.
Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is another sizable tobacco firm, although it takes a backseat to Philip Morris in terms of market cap and yield. Shares were trading at $49.66, in a 52-week range of $46.49 to $71.86. Altria’s market cap is $93.1 billion and its dividend yield is 6.4%.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the second largest U.S. telecom, and with that comes a historically high yield, which this industry has had for years. AT&T boasts a dividend yield of 6.8%. Shares were trading at $30.10, in a 52-week range of $26.80 to $39.29. The market cap is $218.7 billion.
Macerich Co. (NYSE: MAC) is another REIT and it primarily focuses on regional malls and shopping centers throughout the United States. The company currently owns 52 million square feet of real estate, consisting mainly of interests in 48 regional shopping centers. Shares were trading at $46.46, in a 52-week range of $40.90 to $69.73. The market cap is $7.0 billion. The dividend yield is 6.5%.
Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) is a data storage firm that manufactures and distributes hard disk drives, solid-state drives and much more. While it might be strange to see a tech firm yielding this much, shares of Seagate have dropped over 33% in just the past six months alone, pumping up the yield. The stock currently yields 6.3%. Shares were trading at $40.14, in a 52-week range of $35.38 to $62.70. The market cap is $11.5 billion.