Current Dividend Yield: 4.3%
Performance So Far in 2012: +11%
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has been labeled a sleepy telecom stock, but not in recent months. Shares recently popped to a new 52-week high thanks to the demand for yield on Wall Street.
Big-picture, Verizon is one of the most secure plays out there. It remains the leading wireless telecom provider in the U.S. by subscriptions and gets 50% of its revenue from wireless subscribers. The company also is one of the top high-speed Internet providers in America via its FiOS fiber optic network. As the world becomes increasingly wired, it’s more important than ever for companies like Verizon to be involved with the operations of businesses and the lives of regular Americans.
This provides a very stable revenue stream that accounts for huge dividends. Like many low-risk dividend stocks, this is a double-edged sword because there might not be any huge growth opportunities for the entrenched telecom. But strong cash flow generation and the lack of any real competition from anyone other than AT&T (NYSE:T) means this telecom stock is a stalwart that’s here to stay.
The telecom giant recently made waves with a decision to kill almost all voice plans and move to a “Share Everything” data model that will allow users to get up to 10 gadgets wired — including laptops, tablets and smartphones — on the same plan. The goal is to get more folks hooked up with more gadgets and using more data (which VZ can charge more for, of course). Recent earnings showed very strong wireless results that are encouraging, even if “old” landline connections disappointed a bit.
And if this mobile move doesn’t move the stock in the long term? Well, you could do worse than a 4.3% annual return via dividends.