Solid dividend stocks can get overlooked for many reasons. Oftentimes they're stocks of massive companies that lack the explosive year-over-year top-line growth to excite investors, and sometimes the products they sell aren't something that grabs our attention on a daily basis. Or perhaps the yields offered simply aren't above a threshold that gets dividend investors' attention. Either way, these two juggernaut companies are sometimes overlooked but have offered consistent and increasing dividends for years and are worth adding to your watchlist.
Not just a soda company
One stock that seems to be frequently overlooked, and in a way misunderstood by many, is PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP). It's easy to understand why, since soda consumption in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest point in roughly three decades, and investors unfamiliar with the stock stop there. But that's a mistake, because PepsiCo isn't simply a soda company -- it's evolved to be much more.
Beyond its well-known brands that include Pepsi and Mountain Dew, it also owns Gatorade, Tropicana, Lay's, Doritos, and Quaker -- PepsiCo owns a mind-boggling 22 billion-dollar brands. But even beyond snack foods, the company has also focused on driving growth through launching healthier products such as J7 Apple Juice overseas, Naked Cold Pressed Juices, and 7UP with reduced sugar (hitting the stage in over 80 markets), and it's even expanding Quaker Breakfast Flats (under 200 calories per serving) into 12 countries.
Beyond its enviable portfolio of successful and money-generating brands, the company also enjoys economies of scale as one of the industry's leading manufacturers and distributors. Few beverage companies can match PepsiCo's bottling and distribution network, which is largely internally owned, or its relationships with massive nationwide retailers. Getting shelf space at some of these chains isn't easy, but that's a problem PepsiCo rarely has to face.
Thanks to headwinds facing carbonated beverages, PepsiCo is likely to remain an overlooked stock, but that's a mistake for dividend-focused investors. During 2016, PepsiCo returned $7.2 billion in cash to shareholders and has increased its dividend for 44 consecutive years. It boasts a current yield of 2.75%, and don't be surprised when the company increases its dividend again, sooner rather than later.
A soaring dividend
The Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) enjoyed a solid 2016. The company generated healthy revenue, strong earnings, and record cash flow and captured an additional 668 commercial airplane orders. Beyond that, it returned nearly $10 billion to shareholders, including a quarterly dividend increase of 30% per share -- fairly mind-boggling figures. In fact, few dividend stocks can boast the increases that Boeing has dished out; just look at how the payout has been accelerated over the past few years.
Boeing finds itself in an envious position, as one of its foremost challenges over the next decade is simply meeting demand in commercial aircraft. Management has to execute multiple production rate increases as well as the introduction of the 777X and 737 MAX in the near term. Boeing's current outlook for commercial aviation remains lucrative in the long term, with over 39,000 new airplanes estimated to be in demand from 2016 to 2035. In addition to healthy commercial aviation demand, the U.S. defense budget is expected to grow modestly over the next five years.
Even if you take those future estimates with a grain of salt, there's still plenty of information that points to Boeing being a safe bet in the near term. Consider that its total backlog of orders ended 2016 valued at over $470 billion, which is equivalent to more than five years of revenue. Another reason Boeing remains a safe bet to continue printing cash and delivering its dividend is its competitive advantages. The commercial aviation and defense industries are highly regulated and provide steep barriers to entry. The technical knowledge required to design and assemble its products as well as that needed to manage inventory and supply chains are often factors overlooked for how difficult they are to master.
Combine those factors with the high costs associated with switching airplane manufacturers, as orders often take years to fill, and it's easy to see that Boeing has carved out a solid position in the industry for the foreseeable future. And while investors wait for Boeing's stock price to appreciate over the long term, you can generate income with its dividend that yields a healthy 3.25%.