Soaring commodity prices, additional federal stimulus, and government bond yields on the rise are all raising the specter of inflation. Furthermore, there is growing concern that stocks – and tech ones in particular – are now at valuations disconnected from reality. Is the changing macro climate about to send the bull market into retreat?
Too early to tell, but it does signal that a more prudent approach to investing might be a good move right now.
And that will bring us to dividend stocks. Investors want a pad, something to protect their portfolio in case of a market drop, and dividends offer just that. These profit-sharing payments to stockholders provide a steady income stream, that typically stays reliable even in a downturn.
RBC Capital analysts have been doing some of the footwork for us, pinpointing dividend-paying stocks that have kept up high yields, just above 10%. Opening up the TipRanks database, we examine the details behind those payments to find out what else makes these stocks compelling buys.
Annaly Capital Management (NLY)
First up, Annaly Capital Management, is a real estate investment trust (REIT). Annaly holds a portfolio of commercial real estate with a heavy focus on retail (31%) and office (29%) spaces. Other large investments include multifamily dwellings, hotels, and healthcare properties. The company has over $100 billion total assets.
In the company’s 4Q20 results, Annaly showed a 5.1% economic return for Q4, far stronger than the 1.8% reported for 2020 as a whole. EPS came in at 60 cents per common share, and more than covered the regular quarterly dividend of 22 cents. This is the third quarter in a row with the dividend at that level; at the annualized rate of 88 cents per common share, the dividend is yielding 10.7%. This is head and shoulder above the ~2% yield found among peer companies in the financial sector. Annaly has a long history of adjusting its dividend payment to fit with earnings, making it a reliable payer.
Also of interest to investors, Annaly finished Q4 with $8.7 billion in unencumbered assets, including cash on hand. The company used this deep pocket to authorize a $1.5 billion common stock repurchase program, in a move to return capital to shareholders and bolster share prices.
RBC’s 5-star analyst Kenneth Lee likes what he sees in Annaly’s performance, writing, “We continue to favor Annaly’s diversified operating model, strong liquidity and portfolio skew towards agency MBS amid current macro backdrop… Annaly has exposure to growth-oriented, credit assets, including residential and commercial mortgage credit and middle markets lending. We believe diversification should allow NLY to pivot between attractive investment opportunities.”
In line with these comments, Lee rates NLY an Outperform (i.e. Buy), along with a $9.50 price target. This figure implies a 14% upside for the year ahead. (To watch Lee’s track record, click here)
Overall, there is broad agreement on Wall Street about NLY’s quality, as shown by the 7 to 1 split among the analyst reviews, favoring Buy over Hold and giving the stock a Strong Buy analyst consensus rating. The shares are currently trading for $8.22 and their $9 average price target suggests an upside potential of 9.5% from that level. (See NLY stock analysis on TipRanks)
Sunoco LP (SUN)
From REITs we move over to the energy industry. Sunoco LP is the largest wholesale distributor of motor fuels in the US, and supplies more than 7,300 Sunoco gas stations in 33 states. Among the company’s products are gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, lubricating oils, and kerosene – a full range of petroleum products, sold as both branded and unbranded products. Sunoco also controls 13 storage terminals that maintain a secure supply for delivery to retailers. At the retail end, Sunoco provides equipment to gas stations – from pumps to payment services.
This company’s diversified business has allowed Sunoco to remain profitable during the corona pandemic crisis. EPS did come in negative in Q1, when demand fell at the height of the crisis, but quickly rebounded in Q2 and has shown year-over-year gains in each quarter since. Q4 EPS was 77 cents, up from 75 cents in the year-ago quarter.
Distributable cash flow in the quarter was down year-over-year, from $120 million to $97 million, and the company announced a quarterly dividend of 82.5 cents per common share. This was held steady from the prior quarter – and in fact, has been held steady at this level since November 2016. Sunoco has been paying out a reliable dividend for the past 8 years. The current payment annualizes to $3.30 per share, and gives a yield of 10.6%.
Covering SUN for RBC, analyst Elvira Scotto notes that the recent Arctic storm patterns in the continental US have negatively impacted sales volumes but remains buoyed by other aspects.
“SUN maintained its 2021 guidance and noted improvement in volumes in January. We do not expect the recent weather conditions to have a meaningful impact to SUN’s 2021 volumes,” said the 5-star analyst. “We believe SUN shows investors sizable current income with an improved balance sheet. We expect SUN to maintain its distribution and expect distribution coverage to improve over time.”
Scotto rates SUN shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy) and increased the price target from $36 to $38. The figure implies a 23% upside for the next 12 months. (To watch Scotto’s track record, click here)
Overall, SUN shares have a Moderate Buy rating from the analyst consensus, based on a range of reviews including 5 Buys, 2 Holds, and 1 Sell. The shares have an average price target of $33.50, which gives an 8% upside potential from the current trading price of $31. (See SUN stock analysis on TipRanks)
To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.