Though there are countless investing strategies on Wall Street that can make investors meaningfully richer over time, few have been as successful as buying dividend stocks.
Companies that pay a regular dividend to their shareholders are virtual locks to be profitable on a recurring basis. They’re usually time-tested, as well, which makes income stocks the perfect place for investors to put their money to work during periods of volatility.
But what makes dividend stocks so special is their continued outperformance over long periods. In 2013, a report from the wealth management division of JPMorgan Chase found that companies initiating and growing their payouts have delivered an annualized return of 9.5% over 40 years (1972-2012). Meanwhile, non-paying public companies trudged their way to a meager 1.6% annualized return over the same four-decade span.
In a perfect world, income seekers are netting high-octane yields with virtually no risk. In reality, studies have shown that risk and yield tend to correlate once high-yield status (4% and above) is reached. In other words, high-yield stocks can sometimes be trouble. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case.
If you want to generate $300 in super safe dividend income in 2024, all you’d have to do is invest $3,250 into the following three ultra-high-yield stocks, which are yielding an average of 9.25%.
Enterprise Products Partners: 7.61% yield
The first ultra-high-yield stock that can help deliver $300 in super-safe dividend income in the new year is energy company Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD). Enterprise has raised its base annual distribution in each of the past 25 years and is currently yielding 7.6%.
For some investors, the idea of putting their money to work in an oil and gas stock may not sound palatable. Less than four years ago, energy stocks were clobbered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a major drawdown in the spot prices of energy commodities. The thing is, Enterprise Products Partners was largely exempted from this tumult.
What makes Enterprise such a winner is its operating structure. It’s a midstream company, which effectively means that it’s primarily responsible for transporting and storing petroleum, gas, and liquid/refined products for the upstream segment (drillers).
Enterprise Products Partners’ contracts with drilling companies are typically long term. More importantly, these contracts are prominently fixed-fee, which removes the effects of inflation and spot-price volatility from the equation. This gives Enterprise’s management team a transparent cash-flow outlook year in and year out.
Being able to accurately forecast the company’s operating cash flow is incredibly important. It’s what’s given management the confidence to outlay more than $6 billion to major projects (mostly natural gas liquids projects). It’s also encouraged bolt-on acquisitions.
Furthermore, at no point during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic did Enterprise Products Partners’ distribution coverage ratio come anywhere near a level where it would be considered unsustainable. Enterprise’s contracts, coupled with favorable macroeconomic factors for the oil market (e.g., tight global oil supply caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine), have set this company up to succeed for a long time to come.
Annaly Capital Management: 13.03% yield
A second supercharged income stock that can generate $300 in super safe dividend income in 2024 from a starting investment of $3,250 (split three ways) is mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) Annaly Capital Management (NYSE: NLY). Annaly has declared $25 billion worth of dividends since its initial public offering in October 1997 and has averaged a roughly 10% yield over the trailing two decades.
Things couldn’t possibly have been any worse for mortgage REITs over the past two years. This is a highly interest-rate-sensitive industry, which aims to borrow money at low short-term rates and purchase higher-yielding long-term assets, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The steepest rate-hiking cycle by the Fed in four decades has rapidly increased short-term borrowing costs and narrowed the net interest margin for all mortgage REITs.
Despite the toughest climate in history for mortgage REITs, the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be drawing closer.
To begin with, the nation’s central bank has started shifting its stance on inflation and interest rates. The consensus expectation is for three rate cuts in 2024.
This forecast has already been built into Treasury yields, which has minimized the steepest yield-curve inversion in more than 40 years. A normalization of the yield curve over time is going to have a positive impact on Annaly’s net interest margin.
To add to this point, the Fed’s hawkish monetary policy has increased yields on the MBS Annaly continues to purchase. Over time, these higher yields should boost the company’s average yield from owned assets and expand its net interest margin.
Another important development for Annaly is the Federal Reserve’s ongoing quantitative tightening measures. The nation’s central bank is done purchasing MBS, which means there’s now less competition for Annaly to contend with.
Lastly, Annaly Capital Management predominantly purchases agency securities. An “agency” asset is backed by the federal government in the unlikely event of default. Although this added protection lowers the yield Annaly receives from the MBS it’s buying, it also allows the company to prudently utilize leverage to bulk up its profit potential.
Verizon Communications: 7.12% yield
The third ultra-high-yield stock that can help produce $300 in super safe annual dividend income in 2024 is none other than telecom behemoth Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ). Verizon’s 7.1% yield is very close to its all-time high, set just a few months earlier.
Legacy telecom companies like Verizon were walloped in July following a report from The Wall Street Journal that suggested lead-sheathed cables still in use could pose health risks to workers and/or the environment. Since major telecom companies are lugging around quite a bit of debt, a potentially large future liability for the industry clearly has some investors concerned.
However, the WSJ report appears to be counting chickens before they’re hatched. Not only has Verizon noted that lead-clad cables make up a small percentage of its active network, but there’s also no conclusive evidence that they pose a hazard to workers or the environment.
Even if telecom companies were to face future liability, this would certainly be determined by the U.S. court system. Cases of this magnitude can drag on for years. In short, these claims are no immediate concern for Verizon or its shareholders.
What matters far more than speculation about lead-sheathed cables is that Verizon’s operating needle is pointed in the right direction. The 5G revolution is leading to a steady replacement of wireless devices and is encouraging wireless customers to use more data. Verizon’s wireless segment generates its juiciest margins from data.
Additionally, Verizon’s hefty investments in mid-band spectrum seems to be paying off. The September-ended quarter was the fourth consecutive quarter where at least 400,000 net broadband subscribers were added. Being able to bring 5G download speeds to residential internet customers is a dangling carrot that should result in an increase in service bundling. It’ll also be a clear positive for Verizon’s operating cash flow.
The risk-versus-reward profile for Verizon stock makes sense for patient investors. Shares of the company can be scooped up for about 8x current- and forward-year earnings. That’s historically inexpensive for a company pumping out a yield that’s greater than 7%.
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JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Sean Williams has positions in Annaly Capital Management. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool recommends Enterprise Products Partners and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Want $300 in Super Safe Dividend Income in 2024? Invest $3,250 Into the Following 3 Ultra-High-Yield Stocks. was originally published by The Motley Fool