The S&P 500’s 5 Best Highest-Yielding Dividend Stocks

dividend stocks - The S&P 500’s 5 Best Highest-Yielding Dividend Stocks

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There’s nothing more satisfying that getting money for doing nothing. That’s why dividend stocks hold so much appeal for portfolios. After a one-time investment, top dividend stocks will pay you year in and year out, for doing nothing except holding them. This has to be one of the greatest forces in all of investing. And everyone likes getting money for free.

To that end, high-yielding dividend stocks could be an income seeker’s or retiree’s best friend.

By focusing on those stocks with above-average yields, investors can truly supercharge their current income. The best part is that many of the highest-yielding dividend stocks in the S&P 500 aren’t exactly risky names. We’re talking huge companies with plenty of cash flows and earnings to back-up those payouts.

The truth is, there are plenty of big-time stocks that are producing some serious income for their shareholders. Here are five of the best high-yielding dividend stocks in the S&P 500.

Macerich Company (MAC)

Dividend Yield: 9%

Macerich Co (NYSE:MAC)

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With a nearly 9% yield, Macerich (NYSE:MAC) tops the list as one of the highest-yielding dividend stocks in the S&P 500. That high yield can be explained in two ways: For starters, MAC is a real estate investment trust (REIT). As a REIT, the firm is required to pay out the bulk of its cash flows to investors as dividends in order to take advantage of lucrative tax breaks.

The second reason is that Macerich is a retail real estate owner — specifically a mall owner. As e-commerce has taken hold, stocks like MAC have taken it on the chin.

Today, MAC stock sits at new eight-year lows.

This could be a prime time to load up on such a high-yielding dividend stock. The reason is that MAC doesn’t own slouch malls. Yes, junky Class B malls are dying, but premium Class A shopping malls are thriving. MAC owns 48 of these high-end malls and they continue to see high occupancy rates — over 95% — and sales per square foot — around $869.

Meanwhile, the firm continues to change its tenant mix to involve more experiences, dining and entertainment options. This has only boosted traffic and sales further.

The point is, MAC is being unfairly cast aside with the lower mall operators. This has shown up in its ability to boost critical funds from operations (FFO) measures over the retail Armageddon. It has also continued to raise its standard dividend as well as pay special ones.

All in all, Macerich is one high-yielding dividend stock to snag-up.

Iron Mountain Inc (IRM)

Dividend Yield: 7.64%

IRM stock, Iron Mountain

Like Macerich, Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) is also a REIT, but IRM is a tad bit different. The firm makes its money by owning records and data storage facilities around the world. In fact, Iron Mountain is the biggest provider of such facilities with more than 1,400 different locations.

It turns out this is an incredibly profitable and needed niche. Key customers include nearly everyone in the Fortune 1000 as well as various government organizations. With retention rates as high as 98%, IRM is able to pull in some hefty cash flows from the “rent” it charges these customers. Last year, it was able to grow its total FFO by nearly 19% and boost its dividend by over 6%.

The best part is that Iron Mountain continues to evolve. It’s no secret that digital records and data creation is growing by leaps and bounds. To this end, IRM has expanded in datacenter, cloud and digital hard drive access for its clients.

Given its leadership position in physical document storage, the firm has had great success in upselling these digital products to customers. And with higher margins for cloud storage, IRM should be able to keep the growth coming for years.

And yet, because of its quirky nature, investors don’t really pay too much attention to Iron Mountain. That fact provides it with a whopping 7.64% dividend yield.

Philip Morris International (PM)

Dividend Yield: 5.66%

Philip Morris International (PM)

We all know smoking is dying a quick death here in the United States. Even e-cigarettes are getting the evil eye from regulators, which is just fine for tobacco stock Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM).

The key for PM is the “international” in its name. The firm operates and sells tobacco in over 180 countries and territories with the U.S. not being one of them. Emerging markets such as Indonesia, Russia, China, and India make up the bulk of the firms’ revenues.

And those revenues continue to rise as smoking still carries some “cool” factor in these regions and is considered a small luxury.  All in all, PM sold more than $29.6 billion dollars’ worth of tobacco last year — a 3.1% year-over-year jump.

Philip Morris’ future looks rosy as well.

Big tobacco enjoys some big pricing power. Nicotine is an addictive substance and PM is able to pass on price increases to cover costs to consumers pretty easily. Secondly, the firm’s IQOS heated-tobacco delivery system is seeing some very impressive numbers. Shipments for IQOS jumped 20% to reach 11.5 billion units in the firm’s most recent quarter. All of this continues to strengthen the firm’s cash flows, bottom line, and dividend prowess.

The reality is, PM is one of the highest yielding dividend stocks because it’s a hated vice firm. Not because fundamentals are bad.

AbbVie (ABBV)

Dividend Yield: 5.71%

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The giant pharmaceutical firms have long been great dividend stocks. This includes biotech king AbbVie (NASDAQ:ABBV). Driving that fact has been its blockbuster drug Humira.

Last year alone, the autoimmune-disease medication brought in nearly $20 billion for ABBV — an increase of 8.2% over 2017’s numbers. The drug has continued to drive ABBV’s dividend — currently at almost 6%.

The problem is, Humira is facing the proverbial patent cliff sooner than later. Given that the drug is responsible for the bulk of AbbVie’s revenues, this cliff shouldn’t be taken lightly. And that’s one of the reasons why the dividend stocks yield is so high.

However, ABBV has a plan to replace that missing revenue. To begin with, the firm is buying out fellow biotech rival Allergan (NYSE:AGN). AGN features hits like Botox and other blockbusters in its umbrella. Meanwhile, AbbVie has recently scored several approvals that could turn into real cash cows over time. Add in its rich pipeline that is now more robust from the AGN buy and you have a recipe for continued cash flows.

For investors, there’s plenty of potential in the dividend stock and you can grab that potential at a very high yield.

Williams (WMB)

Dividend Yield: 5.35%

The S&P 500’s Best Highest-Yielding Dividend Stocks: WMB

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Pipeline firms have often been called the “toll roads of the energy sector.” That’s because they are paid on the volume of oil and natural gas flowing through their systems. After a few years of simplification, the sector is now back to those roots. That includes top pipeline firm Williams (NYSE:WMB).

WMB owns plenty of top-notch natural gas assets in key areas such as the Marcellus shale and the DJ Basin. These assets feature plenty of cash flows tied to their volumes. This provides less risk for Williams as many of these assets are paid via so-called “take or pay” contracts. And WMB’s continues to add capacity and expansions to these prime pipelines and gathering systems. This will help expand WMB’s cash flows further down the road.

These moves seem to be working.

Last quarter, WMB saw a big 12% boost to its quarter-over-quarter cash flow from operations, and a big 8% jump in its distributable cash flows. With that, management expects to be able to grow its dividend payout by between 10% and 15% this year. That’s pretty impressive considering that WMB already yields 5.35%. With a full slate of expansion projects for the next few years, Williams should be able to keep the growth coming for years to come.

For investors, pipelines have historically been some of the best dividend stocks. WMB is continuing that tradition.

At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not hold a position in any stock mentioned.

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