Investing

Top Wall Street Strategist Focuses on Secure Dividend Stocks: 5 Top Buys

Truist Financial

This seemingly off-the-radar company makes great sense for investors looking for a solid regional winner. Truist Financial Corp. (NYSE: TFC) is a bank holding company, incorporated in North Carolina and headquartered in Charlotte. The company was formerly known as BB&T, but it changed its name in December 2019 upon the acquisition of SunTrust Banks.

The complete transition to the Truist brand is expected to take about two years. Until then, customers of both BB&T and SunTrust will be served through their respective bank branches using the same apps, websites and services as before the merger closed. As part of the regulatory approval process, the new company will sell off 30 SunTrust branches in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia to First Horizon Bank and divest $2.4 billion in deposits to “mitigate the competitive effects of the merger,” according to the Federal Reserve.

Truist’s footprint is located in one of the strongest and fastest-growing regions of the United States, and the analysts expect the company to maintain a competitive advantage over many of its competitors headquartered outside its footprint due to its being physically located in the southeast part of the country.

Investors receive a 3.04% dividend. BofA Securities has set a $66 target. The consensus figure is $61.70, and Truist Financial stock closed most recently at $59.15.

Essex Property Trust

This is an outstanding way for investors looking to add a real estate position to growth and income portfolios. Essex Property Trust Inc. (NYSE: ESS) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops and manages apartment communities primarily located in the southern and northern California markets and Seattle. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, Essex had ownership interests in 250 apartment communities with an additional six properties in various stages of active development.

Essex Property Trust was able to grow earnings by 30% in the past 12 months. While the share price gain of 38% has outpaced the earnings growth, it seems to indicate that Wall Street is now more optimistic about the stock. Essex raised its dividend 0.6% for the upcoming April 15 payment date, giving the trust 27 consecutive years of dividend growth. The dividend has a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% since 2011.

Shareholders receive a 3.03% dividend. The BofA Securities price target is $309. The $279.42 consensus target compares with Monday’s closing price of $275.80.


While investors are probably salivating after Monday’s huge market moves, the reality is the stock market is extremely pricey and stocks are trading at some of the highest multiples in years. For more conservative growth and income investors, moving to these secure dividend companies now makes sense.