With interest rates going up, there are more opportunities than ever for generous income. That doesn’t just apply to the fixed income market, either. This is driving more and more investors to high-paying dividend stocks.
With the sell-off in defensive blue-chip stocks, there are a number of sleep well at night high-quality companies paying huge yields right now. These three top picks all offer at least 7% yields today while coming from defensive high-quality companies that investors can count on even during a recession.
Verizon Communications (VZ)
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the three large American mobile telecommunications companies.
Investors have long relied on these firms for their stable profits and high-dividend yields. However, that stability has come under fire throughout the past 18 months. Mounting competition in the sector has limited pricing power. Several 5G investments have failed to achieve the immediate desired level of returns on investment. Higher interest rates make it more expensive to service the telecom firms’ large existing debtloads.
All true and valid concerns. However, things have gotten way overblown. VZ stock has fallen more than 40% from its prior highs. This even while earnings and cash flows remain quite stable.
Verizon just announced excellent earnings earlier this week and raised its free cash flow guidance. Shares go for about seven times forward earnings and offer a generous 7.7% dividend yield as well. This stock has certianly earned its spot on our list of dividend stocks.
British American Tobacco (BTI)
A lot of investors avoid the tobacco sector. That makes sense. Cigarettes have a strong negative impact on human health. And tobacco companies are seen as firms in decline as society increasingly ostracizes cigarette consumption.
There are no arguments there. And yet there is still a good case for owning tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI). While British American Tobacco used to be almost entirely reliant on cigarettes, it is now a leader in new nicotine delivery systems—such as vaping—that are likely to have fewer health side effects than cigarettes.
Additionally, in a world where marijuana is increasingly gaining favor with regulators, it seems paradoxical to call for further crackdowns on nicotine. That’s important as British American Tobacco focuses on its non-cigarette products. Its Vuse vaping brand is the #1 brand in its category globally, to give one example of its efforts to transform the company.
British American Tobacco has grown its revenues, earnings per share, and dividend per share througout the past decade. Yet at six times earnings and 9% dividend yield, shares seem to be priced for terminal decline. Investors can profit from that overly negative sentiment.
Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) is one of the dominant energy midstream companies in North America. It has a massive web of natural gas and liquids pipelines running between Boston, Orlando, Houston, Vancouver and countless points in-between. In addition, it has invested in renewable power generation, producing enough power to be capable of serving approximately 966,000 homes.
Enbridge has focused on generating high and sustainable shareholder returns. The company earns cash from more than 40 diversified sources, has utility-like contracts with recurring revenue streams, and one of the best balance sheets in its industry.
Despite all the positives, ENB stock has sold off in 2023. Investors are worried about higher interest rates, along with unfavorable regulation that has made it harder to build new pipelines and otherwise operate conventional energy businesses. Those are real headwinds, to be sure. But Enbridge’s core business is exceedingly robust. With the recent sell-off, shares yield 8%.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in VZ, BTI, and ENB stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.