3 Top Dividend Stocks for 2014

Grab yields topping 4%, 5%, and 9% with these top dividend stocks for 2014.

Jan 21, 2014 at 10:20AM

If you're seeking some top dividend stocks for 2014, your portfolio will likely thank you. It's hard to beat the power of dividends, as they reward you regularly whether the market is heading up or down. Dividends make up a significant chunk of the overall market's return, and in 2013, nearly 3,000 companies in the U.S. stock market upped their payouts, versus only 299 reductions.

Perform a quick screen of stocks, and you'll come up with gobs of candidates for your portfolio. But here's a jump-start: three top dividend stocks for 2014 submitted for your consideration.

Safety Insurance (NASDAQ:SAFT) isn't terribly exciting, but it's good at what it does -- providing auto insurance, primarily in New England, along with property and casualty insurance products, including commercial automobile, homeowners, fire, umbrella, and business owner policies. Safety Insurance's third quarter featured net income up 23.2% over year-ago levels, revenue up 5.7%, and net written premiums up 3.5%.

Safety Insurance's dividend yields 4.3%, and the company has increased that payout by 50% over the past five years. The payout ratio for the dividend is just 62%, meaning 62% of Safety's earnings go to the dividend, leaving room for further growth and some wiggle room, too, in case business falters for a while. Safety Insurance's forward P/E ratio of 13 compares favorably with the five-year average of 19, and its PEG ratio is an appealing 0.8 as well. Safety Insurance certainly looks like one of the top dividend stocks for 2014.

Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) is a deepwater drilling specialist that has been executing well and dominating its realm, in part by taking on a lot of debt. That worries some investors, but others take heart in its order backlog, which tops $19 billion. Seadrill's third quarter featured revenue rising 17% over year-ago levels and topping expectations but earnings falling a little short. One critical thing to know about Seadrill is that its fleet is more modern than those of its peers, and it also has more rigs under construction than some key rivals. That might lead to an oversupply problem if oil companies cut back on expenditures for a while, but Seadrill is positioned well for the long run.

Seadrill's dividend yields a hefty 9.5%, and its payouts are variable. Its payout ratio has varied widely and has recently been 77%, meaning that Seadrill's dividend has taken up 77% of its earnings, leaving room for further growth. Seadrill's forward P/E ratio of 9.3 is well below its five-year average of 11.8, and its PEG ratio is a promising 0.9. Seadrill is clearly another of the top dividend stocks for 2014.

Total SA (NYSE:TOT) is a France-based oil giant. It's positioned to profit from recent offshore discoveries near Cyprus and from growth projects it has been investing in, such as liquefied natural gas and shale fields in Britain. Total SA owns a majority stake in SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), too, which has been enjoying high demand for its panels and watching its profit margins rise. Bears worry about slowing growth, labor problems, geopolitical strife, and debt levels. For believers, though, Total SA sports an attractive valuation.

Total SA's dividend yields 5.4%, and it has also been variable from quarter to quarter. The payout ratio for the dividend has recently been 61%, meaning that 61% of Total SA's earnings have gone to its dividend, leaving room for further growth. Total's forward P/E ratio of 7.6 is well below its five-year average of 9.4, which is appealing, given its recently accelerating revenue growth. Total SA is a top dividend stock for 2014.

These are only some of the top dividend stocks for 2014. You can find plenty more on your own, and you might also want to check out articles by my colleagues such as Nicole Seghetti who have shared their suggestions for 2014's top dividend stocks.

Check out our analysts' favored dividend stocks
If you'd like to consider even more top dividend stocks for 2014, you're in luck. The Motley Fool's analysts have put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Seadrill and SunPower. The Motley Fool recommends Safety Insurance Group and Total SA. (ADR). It recommends and owns shares of Seadrill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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