The S&P 500 is trading near its all-time high, but that doesn't mean there aren't bargains to be found in the markets. In fact, I'd argue that several high-profile companies are trading for cheap valuations right now, and many of them even offer up big dividend yields.
Want proof? Let's look at three dividend-paying stocks currently trading for below market multiples. These are names I think you can safely purchase today.
The biotech sector has been under a lot of pressure for the better part of a year, crushing the valuations of even the strongest and most profitable companies in the sector. That makes right now a great time to go bargain-hunting in the space, and one stock that should be at the top of any dividend lover's list is the grandaddy of them all -- Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN).
Amgen has been around for decades. Its longevity might make you assume that it's no longer a growth company, but you'd be wrong. Amgen's recent results show that the company's days of profitable growth are far from over. Revenue grew by 6% year over year in the most recent quarter, thanks in large part to the continued strength of Enbrel, the company's best-selling autoimmune-disease drug. Sales of Enbrel grew by 10% in the period, and when you add in the contributions from newer drugs to the mix, such as Prolix, XGEVA, and Sensipar, they more than offset waning sales for the company's legacy drugs, such as Neupogen and Epogen.
Those results are all the more impressive when you consider that Repatha, Amgen's next-generation cholesterol-busing drug, continues to contribute very little to the top line. Many physicians are holding off prescribing it until data comes out later this year on a study of long-term cardiovascular outcomes. If that data shows that using Repatha lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke, then sales could take off in a hurry. Many analysts believe that this drug could eventually reach $4 billion in peak sales, so it's one to watch.
Despite the company's continued growth and upside potential if Repatha turns out to be a winner, Amgen's shares are trading for only about 16 times full-year earnings estimates. Income lovers will also appreciate the company's market-beating 2.3% yield, especially since it's poised for continued fast growth in the years ahead. I think that's a compelling combination for a company projected to grow earnings by almost 10% annually in the years to come.
2. Wells Fargo
The market continues to view big bank stocks with skepticism, which makes sense, given that the Federal Reserve continues to keep interest rates near historic lows. That's depressing all banks' ability to drive higher net interest margins, which in turn is making it tough to increase profitability and create strong returns on equity.
Despite the tough backdrop, banking giant Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) continues to prove itself worthy of investment. Last quarter, the company reported a 4% increase in deposits and a 9% jump in average loans, which helped to drive a 4% boost in overall revenue. Importantly, the company's credit quality remains exceptionally strong, with net chargeoffs of 0.39% of average loans. That's an encouraging result, especially when you consider that many banks have had to deal will a slew of defaults related to weakness in the energy sector.
Wells Fargo also continues to run one of the most efficient big banks in the country. Its efficiency ratio came in at 58.1% last quarter, which is within its guidance range of 55% to 59%, and it's a number that very few other banks can come close to matching. That helps the bank to remain highly profitable, boasting a respectable return on equity of 11.7% during the period.
Once interest rates start to tick up again, I have high confidence that Wells Fargo's profitability will continue to grow from here, which should help to lift its share price. While we wait for that to happen, the company will continue to use its profits to buy back shares and pay out a juicy dividend, which is currently yielding 3.1%. With shares trading for less than 12 times earnings and at a price-to-book value of 1.35, this perennial Warren Buffet favorite is a good choice right now.
It's unusual for a company that promises double-digit growth and a market-beating dividend yield to trade at a discount to the S&P 500, but that's exactly the situation that exists today with pharma giant AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV).
Since being spun off from the Dividend Aristocrat Abbott Labs in 2013, the company has been on a heck of growth tear. The company's revenue and profits continue to march higher at impressive rates, thanks largely to its megablockbuster drug Humira, a drug that treats a variety of autoimmune diseases. Humira sales topped $14 billion in 2015, giving it the title of best-selling drug on the planet.
The company's recent results show that the growth story remains fully intact, too. Revenue increased by a strong 17.9% last quarter, thanks to continued double-digit growth of Humira complemented by triple-digit growth of newer drugs such as Imbruvica, which treats a variety of cancers, and Viekira Pak, AbbVie's hepatitis-C cure. That strong growth powered the company's bottom line forward by 16%, causing management to raise its full-year EPS outlook to a new range of $4.73 to $4.83.
If the company can hit that target -- which I believe it can -- then shares are currently trading for only about 14 times full year earnings. With analysts projecting bottom-line growth of nearly 17% over the coming five years and the company offering a market-beating dividend yield of 3.4%, AbbVie is cheap stock that growth and income investors can learn to love.