Desktop Stock Ticker | 5 Stocks Yielding 4% — or More

5 Stocks Yielding 4% — or More

Dividends are in the dumps. For 11 years ended 2007, the S&P 500 carried a yield of less than 2% compared with a historic average for stock tickers of closer to 5%. Share prices have plunged since 2007, so the index’s yield should have fattened to 3% or so. Instead, it’s on its way to dipping below 2% thanks to financially distressed companies that have slashed payments. S&P reckons dividends this year will hit their lowest percentage of profits since 1938.

That said, hundreds of companies pay at least 4% at the moment. That’s about double the average rate offered by banks on one-year certificates of deposit. Of course, CDs offer a guarantee of principal protection, but they come with some unwanted guarantees, too. They are guaranteed not to increase in value beyond their interest payments. The payments themselves are guaranteed not to grow during the life of the CD. If inflation picks up, long-term CDs are almost guaranteed to fall behind in their ability to protect investors’ buying power.

A 4% dividend yield, by contrast, can grow over time, offers the potential of capital gains on the side and can help protect against inflation. Of course, all of this depends on the company paying the dividend, and its prospects for prosperity in coming years. Below are five financially strong companies paying more than 4%. Each has a modest valuation and relatively stable sales.

Philip Morris International (PM) sells Marlboro and other top cigarette brands in 160 countries outside the U.S. The stock ticker is more expensive than its domestic sibling, Altria (MO), at 14 times forward earnings versus 9. The International company also comes with a smaller dividend: 5.1%, compared with 7.8% for the American company. But those numbers still compare favorably with the broad stock ticker market, and Philip Morris International has limited exposure to lawsuits and better growth prospects than the U.S. tobacco industry.

ConocoPhilips (COP) stock ticker trades at less than half its price of a year ago, when Warren Buffett was loading up on shares for his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B). It’s by no means the top performer in the oil and gas industry. Analysts expect the company’s production to flatten for the next few years after an increase of 3% or so this year. To help make up for its weak production outlook, Conoco has been an aggressive acquirer. As a result its debt since 2005 has increased from 19% of capital to 34%. That’s a manageable sum, but it reduces the portion of the company’s cash flow that’s free to be put toward new drilling. All that said, Conoco sells for less than 13 times this year’s pitiful earnings forecast and less than 7 times what Wall Street figures the company might earn next year. Relative to the company’s profits, its 4.5% dividend yield looks plenty affordable.

Will Verizon (VZ) get the iPhone next year, once Apple’s exclusivity pact with AT&T (T) runs out? There’s a good chance, judging by Apple’s recent announcement that long-awaited data features for its iPhone are now available through most carriers world-wide, but won’t be available until later this year through AT&T. The real reason to like Verizon isn’t just that it provides the least-bad cellphone service of a sloppy bunch, but that its stock ticker comes with one of the biggest, affordable dividend yields around: almost 6%. Sales are expected to increase 11% this year, as its flourishing wireless business more than makes up for withering landline accounts.

Have a look if you like at details on these and the other two high-yielders below.

Screen Survivors
Company Ticker Industry Share
YTD (%)
Verizon Communications VZ Telecom Services $30.99 -8.6 12.25 5.9
Philip Morris International PM Cigarettes 42.61 -2.1 13.79 5.1
Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY Drugs 20.96 -9.9 10.92 5.9
H.J. Heinz HNZ Food 35.72 -5.0 13.38 4.7
ConocoPhilips COP Oil & Gas 41.62 -19.0 13.00 4.5

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