The best things in life aren't always right in front of you. Sometimes you have to hunt for them. That's true for many things, including high-yield dividend stocks. Some of the best dividends come from companies that you might not think about.
With this in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to identify high-yield stocks that other investors might have missed. Here's why they chose Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), and Medical Properties Trust (NYSE:MPW).
Not quite as compelling but still pretty good
Matt DiLallo (Brookfield Infrastructure Partners): More often than not, investors who choose a high-yield stock are giving up the potential for a higher growth rate in exchange for that income stream. However, some stocks offer the best of both worlds. That has certainly been the case for Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, which has risen 30% this year. Investors who buy today missed not only that upside but also the opportunity to lock in a much higher yield, though units still pay a pretty decent 4%.
Fueling Brookfield Infrastructure Partners' surge has been a combination of recently completed acquisitions and growth projects, which pushed earnings up 28% last quarter. On the M&A front, the company spent more than $2 billion to bolster its global portfolio, headlined by a bold buy in Brazil of a stake in a natural gas utility during that country's political crisis. Meanwhile, the company completed $850 million in expansion projects across its portfolio, pushing earnings up 10% organically last quarter.
But while investors missed Brookfield Infrastructure Partners' big run this year, the company still has plenty of growth ahead of it. First of all, it has two more acquisitions in the pipeline that it expects to close by the end of the year and a robust opportunity set beyond those deals. In addition, the company has another $2.4 billion of expansion projects under way that should bolster cash flow over the next three years. Furthermore, it has up to $1.5 billion of potential growth projects further down the pipeline. Brookfield therefore believes it can increase its high-yield payout by 5% to 9% annually over the long term, which should fuel a healthy total return for investors.
Embroiled in lawsuits
Tim Green (Qualcomm): Mobile-chip giant Qualcomm is trading right around its 52-week low, with shares beaten down by an ongoing legal battle with Apple. At stake is the company's lucrative licensing business, which could take a major hit in the worst-case scenario. Apple is currently withholding royalties entirely, forcing Qualcomm to slash its guidance and creating the potential for other licensees to demand better terms.
On top of Apple's lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission is accusing Qualcomm of anti-competitive tactics. And the company's acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, meant to strengthen its position in the automotive market, still hasn't closed. In short, it's been a bad year for Qualcomm.
However, this unending stream of bad news is a boon for dividend investors willing to bet that Qualcomm will come out of this tumultuous period without severe negative consequences. The stock currently yields 4.2%, one of the highest yields among the major tech companies. There probably won't be much or any dividend growth until the lawsuits are resolved, and a strong ruling against Qualcomm could lead to a dividend cut. But the dividend should be safe under a wide range of scenarios, and a ruling in Qualcomm's favor is likely to send the stock soaring.
Things could go very wrong for Qualcomm, and that possibility makes the stock risky. But for investors looking for high yields and willing to stomach some risk, Qualcomm is a stock to check out.
A small REIT with a big dividend
Keith Speights (Medical Properties Trust): There are several larger and better-known real estate investment trusts (REITs) focused on healthcare than Medical Properties Trust. However, few have a higher yield and more attractive valuation.
Medical Properties Trust's dividend currently yields 7.4%. Over the past four years, the REIT has steadily increased its dividend payments. The stock is also relatively cheap, with shares trading at less than 12.5 times expected earnings.
The company focuses on long-term leases to healthcare providers, including general acute-care hospitals, inpatient physical rehabilitation hospitals, long-term acute-care hospitals, and other healthcare-services facilities. While most of Medical Properties Trust's properties are located in the U.S., the company has expanded into Europe, particularly in Germany.
Five operators generate more than 70% of the company's revenue. That isn't as scary as it might sound, though. For example, one of those operators, Adeptus Health, recently restructured under bankruptcy laws, but Medical Properties Trust has received rents on all properties Adeptus operates. And while the REIT did agree to a post-bankruptcy concession, the amount of the reduction in rent won't make a huge financial impact.
Medical Properties Trust's focus on healthcare is a big plus for investors. Healthcare is the largest industry in both the U.S. and Germany, based on GDP. It's also a growing market, thanks largely to aging populations. With a manageable debt load of $3.2 billion, Medical Properties Trust appears to be in great position to capitalize on this growth. The big dividends from this small healthcare REIT should keep on flowing.