There are many reasons why investors may want to look at dividend stocks to buy in this market. Earning passive income is great in good times and in bad. That’s because in difficult times like this, the downside many investors would otherwise see via valuation compression can be muted by the cash dividends paid by many companies. It’s a simple idea, but one that many long-term investors latch on to, for good reason.
Indeed, it’s generally a good idea to try to get a return on any investment. By building up a cash position through dividends, investors can buy dips when available, and also diversify their portfolio from time to time. Holding cash is another option, for those particularly concerned about this near-term environment.
With inflation appearing to have peaked and fears of a recession dimming somewhat, investors have some positive catalysts to look forward to. Thus, we could have some capital appreciation in the cards for 2023. If that’s the case, these dividend stocks to buy may show middle-of-the pack returns for investors. Aggressive growth investors may once again outperform, if risk-on sentiment takes hold again.
We’ll see. But for defensive investors, allocating at least a portion of one’s portfolio to dividend paying stocks has proven to be a great way to go. Here are three such stocks I think are worth considering right now.
Devon Energy (DVN)
Starting off this list of dividend stocks to buy is Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), a company that’s become well known for its incredible recent dividend prowess.
This company’s incredible 8.8% yield has provided many dividend investors with a source of great income this year. Indeed, any stock with a less than 12-year payback based on the current dividend rate is one worth considering.
That said, Devon’s fixed-plus-variable dividend won’t be as attractive in a lower priced oil environment. While high today, the variable portion of this distribution is what has some investors concerned. It’s likely Devon will see some sort of reduction in its dividend next year, a fact that has led this stock to trade at only 6.3x trailing earnings.
I think that’s perfectly amenable for short-, medium- and long-term investors. The fact that Devon’s dividend is variable should be viewed as a positive. When times are good, and cash flows are robust, this is a company that will return cash to shareholders in a big way. However, when times get tough, this is a company that will keep that cash, pay down debt and bolster its balance sheet. Accordingly, this is the perfect dividend stock for cautious investors looking to navigate the markets in 2023.
Verizon Communications (VZ)
A stable long-term holding for many dividend investors, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) fits into most investors’ risk profiles as among the top dividend stocks to buy for years to come. That’s because this company’s 6.9% dividend yield is supported by one of the largest networks in the U.S., and a business model with pricing power in nearly any market.
Interestingly, in a recession, the cell phone bill has been shown to be among the stickiest for consumers (one of the last to be repaid). You’d think that shelter, food and other essential costs would come above a telecom bill. But that’s not the case – our ability to communicate and browse the Internet appears to be a core necessity that’s undervalued by many investors.
Thus, this is a stock with rather steady cash flows. That’s been a good and bad thing for Verizon, as this stream of steady cash flows has allowed the company to increase its leverage of late, hampering its potential for future returns down the road. Despite revenue growth of 4% in Q3 to $34.2 billion, which outdid estimates by $410 million, some are concerned about the company’s long-term financial picture. That makes sense, considering adjusted earnings came in lower than expected last quarter as well.
That said, I’m of the view that Verizon is a reliable long-term blue-chip dividend stock worth buying on a dip. Now trading at a discount of more than 30% to its peak, this is a stock that’s looking more attractive than we’ve seen in some time.
V.F. Corp. (VFC)
One company I’ve been bullish on for some time, but has underperformed of late, is V.F. Corp. (NYSE:VFC). For investors intent on holding this company for the long term, this recent decline could bode well, at least in terms of this company’s higher yield. At the time of writing, VFC stock yields a very juicy 7.2%, far better than anything investors can get in the fixed income market without taking significant risk.
Of course, there’s risk with holding VFC stock, to be sure. This is a stock that’s declined more than 60% on a year-to-date basis alone. Reaching for yield can turn out to be a dangerous move, and this is a stock that many view as a yield trap, for this reason.
That said, V.F. Corp’s umbrella of brands is impressive. This company has top-tier retail names in its portfolio, including the likes of Timberland, The North Face, Dickies, Vans, Eastpack and Jansport. For those seeking quality retail exposure, this is one way to go.
Another way to view the decline in VFC stock this year is as an opportunity to pick up a much better dividend yield at a low entry cost. This is a profitable company, trading at a reasonable multiple, in an economically sensitive sector. Thus, for those taking a more bullish stance on the economy for 2023, this is among the best dividend stocks to buy right now.
On the date of publication, Chris MacDonald did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.