Investing

5 Buy-Rated Blue Chip Stocks Pay Reliable 5% or Higher Dividends

Since the lows in March of 2020, the stock market has doubled. Think about that for a moment. The S&P 500 closed at 2,237 on March 23 of that year and closed Tuesday at 4,486, just over an incredible 100% gain in 17 months. Numerous reasons for this have been cited, including the incredibly loose monetary policy that has been in place for years but went nuclear when COVID-19 showed up in the winter of 2020. Toss in the Reddit, WallStreetBets crowd, which had government hand-outs to trade with while locked at home, and you had all the ingredients for the proverbial melt-up.

The truly scary situation for investors is that the market has not had a 5% correction in almost a year, which is very unusual. The difficult question for investors is what to do now. Sell everything and go to cash? That would be a great idea if money markets paid anything. The highest yielding money market savings account pays a lousy 0.40%. Banks literally pay almost zero for funds held in checking accounts.

One idea for those worried about a massive sell-off is to move to safe stocks that pay dividends. While they will not be immune to a risk-off move, the chances are good they will hold up better than crowded technology or meme stocks. We screened our 24/7 Wall St. research database and found five outstanding stocks that investors can buy now that come with at least a 5% dividend, and all are rated Buy at major Wall Street firms.

It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.

Altria

This maker of tobacco products offers value investors a great entry point now and was hit recently as cigarette sales have slowed. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is the parent company of Philip Morris USA (cigarettes), UST (smokeless), John Middleton (cigars), Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital. PMUSA enjoys a 51% share of the U.S. cigarette market, led by its top cigarette brand Marlboro.

Altria also owns over 10% of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. In March 2008, it spun off its international cigarette business to shareholders. In December 2018, the company acquired 35% of Juul Labs, and it has purchased a 45% stake in cannabis company Cronus for $1.8 billion.

The company is also rolling out its own heated and vapor products, such as Marlboro HeatSticks and IQOS, both of which are slowly expanding across the country.

Altria has increased its dividend for 50 consecutive years. Shareholders now receive a 7.14% dividend. BofA Securities has a $58 price target on the shares, and the consensus target is $54.68. Altria stock closed on Tuesday at $48.21 a share.