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Uncovering Income: Dividend Stocks With Strong Yields

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Dividend Stocks

Dividend Stocks

Uncovering Income: Dividend Stocks with Strong Yields

Amid the current market volatility, attractive income-generating investments can be hard to find.

Treasury bond yields hover near record lows, and U.S. companies face restrictions on issuing dividends if they accept COVID-19 stimulus funds. Moreover, Goldman Sachs estimates dividends for S&P 500 stocks will decline by 25% this year.

Which stocks can investors turn to for stable distributions and relatively high dividend yields? Today’s visualization shows 35 stocks that may meet this criteria, leveraging Goldman Sachs data as published by Forbes.

The Dividend Stocks to Watch

To compile the list, Goldman Sachs identified stocks from the Russell 1000 index that met a number of requirements:

  • A minimum annualized dividend yield of 3%
  • An S&P credit rating of at least BBB+
  • Ample cash on hand
  • Strong balance sheets
  • ”Reasonable” payout ratios
  • At least average performance since the market peak

Dividend yields, which measure dividend income in relation to the share price, were initially calculated March 27. We have updated them as of market close on April 8. Here’s the full breakdown, sorted from highest to lowest dividend yield:

RankCompanyTickerAnnual Dividend YieldSector
1CenterPoint Energy, Inc.NYSE: CNP6.90%Utilities
2Wells Fargo & CompanyNYSE: WFC6.74%Financials
3People's United Financial, Inc.NASDAQGS: PBCT6.34%Financials
4Franklin Resources, Inc.NYSE: BEN6.28%Financials
5Regency CentersNASDAQGS: REG5.82%Real estate
6Truist FinancialNYSE: TFC5.50%Financials
7International Business MachinesNYSE: IBM5.43%Tech
8Omnicom Group Inc.NYSE: OMC4.76%Communication services
9U.S. BancorpNYSE: USB4.71%Financials
10Raytheon Technologies (merger of Raytheon and United Tech.)NYSE: RTX4.69%Industrials
11NetApp, Inc.NASDAQGS: NTAP4.69%Information Technology
12The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.NYSE: PNC4.62%Financials
13Eaton Vance Corp.NYSE: EV4.34%Financials
14Nucor CorporationNYSE: NUE4.12%Materials
15United Parcel Service, Inc.NYSE: UPS4.09%Industrials
16M&T Bank CorporationNYSE: MTB4.09%Financials
17Exelon CorporationNASDAQGS: EXC4.07%Utilities
18Archer-Daniels-Midland CompanyNYSE: ADM3.95%Consumer staples
193M Company NYSE: MMM3.95%Industrials
20Emerson Electric Co.NYSE: EMR3.84%Industrials
21Sysco Corp.NYSE: SYY3.81%Consumer staples
22Mid-America Apartment CommunitiesNYSE: MAA3.61%Real Estate
23Essex Property Trust, Inc.NYSE: ESS3.55%Real Estate
24MDU Resources GroupNYSE: MDU3.53%Utilities
25Cummins Inc.NYSE: CMI3.51%Industrials
26Sonoco Products Co.NYSE: SON3.50%Materials
27Cisco Systems, Inc.NASDAQGS: CSCO3.45%Information Technology
28American Electric Power Company, Inc.NYSE: AEP3.36%Utilities
29The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.NYSE: HIG3.36%Financials
30NiSource Inc.NYSE: NI3.30%Utilities
31Caterpillar Inc.NYSE: CAT3.23%Industrials
32Everest Re Group, Ltd.NYSE: RE3.13%Financials
33Bristol-Myers Squibb CompanyNYSE: BMY3.09%Health care, pharmaceuticals
34The Home Depot, Inc.NYSE: HD3.08%Consumer discretionary
35Bank of America CorporationNYSE: BAC3.07%Financials

Note: From the original list, 5 stocks have been excluded as they no longer meet the 3% annualized yield threshold.

Centerpoint Energy, an electric and natural gas utility company, is at the top of the list. Since utility stocks are generally considered to be recession-resistant, investors may benefit from both the company’s yield and its defensive qualities.

Financials are the most-represented sector, with 11 companies on the list. Although regulators have pressured European banks to suspend dividend payments, U.S. banks will likely be able to continue their distributions. Top banking executives have argued they have sufficient capital to weather the COVID-19 crisis, and that halting payments would be “destabilizing to investors.”

There are also a number of well-known names on the list, including Home Depot, IBM, and 3M. The latter is the largest maker of respirator masks worldwide, and has been providing critical supplies to the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

Caution: Volatility Ahead

As the pandemic’s financial impact continues, it’s likely many companies will delay or suspend their dividends. To avoid falling into “yield traps”—a trap in which an attractive yield could be due to a fundamental business problem—investors can screen for the qualities laid out above.

A strong balance sheet, good credit rating, and average or better performance since the downturn can all help point towards stability.

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Markets

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What’s the Difference?

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CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What’s the Difference?

For many consumers, cannabis plays a significant role in the treatment of medical conditions and managing general well-being. As a result, certain products have seen a rapid increase in popularity in recent years.

But while awareness of these products is at an all-time high, false or misleading information continues to cause confusion, and creates an unnecessary barrier for consumers who want to experiment with, or try different products.

For example, 69% of cannabidiol (CBD) products are reported to have inaccurate labeling, so it’s no surprise that some consumers are uncertain about the suitability of these products and are hesitant to invest.

Today’s graphic from Elements of Green dives into the differences between popular cannabis products, CBD oil and hemp seed oil—more commonly known as hemp oil— and the common misconceptions that are inhibiting consumers from entering the space en masse.

Same Plant, Difference Characteristics

Typically, both CBD oil and hemp oil originate from the hemp plant, a non-psychoactive cannabis plant. Therefore, it typically does not result in any intoxicating effects. However, many consumers mistakenly believe that CBD or hemp products will get them high, when in fact it is the marijuana plant—hemp’s psychoactive cousin—that can induce mind-altering effects.

Even though both oils are extracted from the same plant, they each have very different characteristics and uses that consumers should be aware of.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks of hemp plants, and contains high levels of the naturally occurring CBD compound. Various CBD oil formats include tinctures, vape oil, and capsules, which are commonly used for their proven therapeutic benefits, such as:

  • Pain management
  • Relaxation
  • Stress relief
  • Treatment of medical conditions such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Sleep aid

When it comes to product labeling, consumers should be aware that different types of CBD oils exist, depending on the chemical compounds—known as cannabinoids—they contain.

  • CBD Isolate: Pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids such as THC
  • Full-spectrum CBD oil: Contains CBD among other cannabinoids, with no THC
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil: Contains CBD among other cannabinoids including low levels of THC

These oils are used in a wide variety of consumer products such as beverages, beauty products, and even pet food.

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil, on the other hand, is extracted from hemp seeds and contains no cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. It is used more like a traditional cooking oil, but can also be found in topical creams and lotions.

More recently, hemp oil is being hailed for its use in industrial products such as concrete, bio-plastics and fuel. While it has huge potential for use in both consumer and industrial products, its benefits differ slightly to CBD oil:

  • Source of plant-based protein and rich in fatty acids and antioxidants
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces severity of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis
  • Anti-bacterial properties
  • Could reduce PMS or menopause symptoms

Consumers should ensure that hemp oil is listed as the active ingredient on the product’s packaging, but it may also be listed as cannabis sativa seed oil.

Busting the Myths

While there is strong scientific evidence to support the efficacy of CBD oil and hemp oil, companies need to commit to both appropriate and safe labeling regarding dosage levels and ingredients.

Following that, previously held stigmas and misconceptions should slowly disintegrate as these products become more widely available and consumers increase their knowledge and understanding of their benefits.

Considering that the popularity of cannabis consumer products has only exploded over the last decade, initial confusion surrounding them is to be expected, and the true potential of these products is yet to be realised.

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Technology

Visualizing the Size of Amazon, the World’s Most Valuable Retailer

Amazon’s valuation has grown by 2,830% over the last decade, and the tech giant is now worth more than the other 9 largest U.S. retailers, combined.

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Visualizing the Size of the World’s Most Valuable Retailer

As brick-and-mortar chains teeter in the face of the pandemic, Amazon continues to gain ground.

The retail juggernaut is valued at no less than $1.4 trillion—roughly four times what it was in late 2016 when its market cap hovered around $350 billion. Last year, the Jeff Bezos-led company shipped 2 billion packages around the world.

Today’s infographic shows how Amazon’s market cap alone is bigger than the nine biggest U.S. retailers put together, highlighting the palpable presence of the once modest online bookstore.

The New Normal

COVID-19’s sudden shift has rendered many retail outfits obsolete.

Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and J.Crew have all filed for bankruptcy as consumer spending has migrated online. This, coupled with heavy debt loads across many retail chains, is only compounding the demise of brick-and-mortar. In fact, one estimate projects that at least 25,000 U.S. stores will fold over the next year.

Still, as safety and supply chain challenges mount—with COVID-19 related costs in the billions—Amazon remains at the top. It surpasses its next closest competitor, Walmart, by $1 trillion in market valuation.

How does Amazon compare to the largest retailers in the U.S.?

10 Largest Public US Retailers*Market Value July 1, 2020Market Value July 1, 2010 Normalized % Change 2010-2020Retail Revenue
Walmart$339B$179B90%$514B
Costco$134B$24B458%$142B
Amazon$1,400B$50B2,830%$140B
The Kroger Co.$26B$13B107%$118Be
Walgreens Boots Alliance$36B$26B38%$111B
The Home Depot$267B$47B466%$108B
CVS$84B$40B112%$84B
Target$60B$37B64%$74B
Lowe's$102B$29B251%$71B
Best Buy$23B$14B59%$43B
Combined value of retailers (without Amazon)$1,071B

Source: Deloitte, YCharts
*Largest public US retailers based on their retail revenue as of fiscal years ending through June 30, 2019, e=estimated

With nearly a 39% share of U.S. e-commerce retail sales, Amazon’s market cap has grown 2,830% over the last decade. Its business model, which aggressively pursues market dominance instead of focusing on short-term profits, is one factor behinds the rise.

By the same token, one recent estimate by The Economist pegged Amazon’s retail operating margins at -1% last year. Another analyst has suggested that the company purposefully sells retail goods at a loss.

How Amazon makes up for this operating shortfall is through its cash-generating cloud service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and through a collection of diversified enterprise-focused services. AWS, with estimated operating margins of 26%, brought in $9.2 billion in profits in 2019—more than half of Amazon’s total.

Amazon’s Basket of Eggs

Unlike many of its retail competitors, Amazon has rapidly diversified its acquisitions since it originated in 1994.

Take the $1.2 billion acquisition of Zoox. Amazon plans to operate self-driving taxi fleets, all of which are designed without steering wheels. It is the company’s third largest since the $13.7 billion acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods, followed by Zappos.

Accounting for the lion’s share of Amazon-owned physical stores, Whole Foods has 508 stores across the U.S., UK, and Canada. While Amazon doesn’t outline revenues across its physical retail segments—which include Amazon Books stores, Amazon Go stores, and others—physical store sales tipped over $17 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, Amazon also owns gaming streaming platform Twitch, which it acquired for $970 million in 2017. Currently, Twitch makes up 73% of the streaming market and brought in an estimated $300 million in ad revenues in 2019.

Carrying On

Despite the flood of online orders due to quarantines and social distancing requirements, Amazon’s bottom line has suffered. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, it is expected to rack up $4 billion in pandemic-related costs.

Yet, at the same time, its customer-obsessed business model appears to thrive under current market conditions. As of July 1, its stock price has spiked over 51% year-to-date. On an annualized basis, that’s roughly 100% in returns.

As margins get squeezed and expenses grow, is Amazon’s growth sustainable in the long-term? Or, are the company’s strategic acquisitions and revenue streams providing the catalysts (and cash) for only more short-term success?

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