3 Dividend Stocks That Are Boring For The Right Reasons

3 Dividend Stocks that are Boring for the Right Reasons

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As the geopolitical situation heats up, the markets are more volatile. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is now at a six-year high as investors resort to hedging against risk instead of investing. Since Monday, the broader market benchmark, the S&P 500 (SPX), has been down 1.2%.

In an environment like this, investors looking for security should consider stable dividend stocks. Although not as exciting as Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) or Meta Platforms (Nasdaq: META), these stocks offer a consistent income stream through quarterly or annual dividend payouts.

The company’s dividend yield is the ratio of its annual dividend relative to its share price. With this in mind and low-risk tolerance as the preferred requirement, here are three dividend payout stocks to consider.

Verizon (Nasdaq: VZ) – dividend yield 6.63% at $2.66 annual payout per share

Vying for dominance with AT&T at around 35% market share, Verizon has become an indispensable telecom infrastructure cog. Although Verizon’s share appreciated only by 2% over one year, the company has been increasing annual dividend payouts since 2007. 

Verizon closed 2023 with $134 billion in revenue, a slight year-over-year decline of 2.1%. However, the telecom giant ended up with greater free cash flow of $18.7 billion vs $14.1 billion in 2022, owing to national broadband service (413k net additions in Q4).

Likewise, Verizon paid $11 billion in dividends compared to $10.8 billion the year prior. Amid flatlined growth metrics shared with other telecom companies, Verizon only increased its wireless service in Q4 by 3.2% at $19.4 billion in revenue.

Given that Verizon has beat earnings per share estimates for the last four consecutive quarters, low-risk investors can relax about this stable dividend stock.

Lockheed Martin (Nasdaq: LMT) – dividend yield 2.78% at $12.60 annual payout per share

Like Verizon, Lockheed Martin is an aristocratic dividend stock in the making. However, LMT shares are more exciting than usual in the current geopolitical situation. Known for its iconic projects such as F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, HIMARS, C-130 Hercules, and others, LMT stock is a proxy exposure for USG reach.

Over the last 30 days, the stock went up 4.7%, following 50% gains in the previous five years. This makes sense, given that Lockheed Martin is one of the key military-industrial complex companies that maintains the dollar’s dominance.

This is amply demonstrated by the company’s record total backlog of $160.6 billion as it concluded fiscal year 2023. Although finishing with net sales of $67.6 billion, just over $66 billion in 2022, the company’s free cash flow increased significantly in Q4 to $1.7 billion.

In Q4 2022, Lockheed Martin’s free cash flow was $1.2 billion, which suggests that demand for Lockheed Martin services is slowly ramping up despite the record backlog. Against the present price level of $455, Nasdaq’s aggregation from analyst data projects a $481 average LMT price target.

The high estimate is $540, while the low forecast is $380. In both cases, LMT stock represents a stable dividend exposure, having paid $9.1 billion to shareholders in 2023.

Altria Group (Nasdaq: MO) – dividend yield 9.57% at annual payout of $3.92 per share

Despite the historic shift in sentiment against smoking, WHO estimates a large base of 1.3 billion tobacco users. This market remains as reliable as telecom or weapon systems. Relative to competitors like Philip Morris International (14.13%) or British American Tobacco (11.11%), Altria Group has a market share of 7.34%.

Like its competition, Altria shifted to smokeless, non-combustible products. While Altria’s leading Marlboro brand is iconic, the noncombustible Copenhagen, IQOS, or JUUL e-vapor brands are already widely popular.

Altria is a generous dividend stock with regular stock buyback programs. Since 2019, the company has paid out $32 billion in dividends while repurchasing $5 billion. Between Q3 ‘22 and Q3 ‘23, Altria increased dividends by 4.3%.

Mid-March, following the sale of Anheuser-Busch (BUD) shares, the Group announced an accelerated buyback program of $2.4 billion to existing $1 billion. Altria also raised full-year 2024 guidance to $5.05 – %5.17 earnings per share, up 2% – $4.95 from 2023.

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Disclosure: None.

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