"Risky" and "Dividend Stocks" in the same headline might have you scratching your head. High risk isn't a concept that's usually associated with dividend stocks, right? Most shareholders think of dividend stocks as belonging to stalwart businesses that provide stable income over time. But General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Cameco Corp. (NYSE:CCJ) offer sizable risk right now -- and the sizable opportunity that comes with it -- all while rewarding investors with a dividend. Here's why you might want to consider them for your portfolio.
The automotive landscape is poised to evolve rapidly toward electrified-vehicle fleets and autonomous vehicles. That makes General Motors' 3.6% dividend yield enticing at a time when Wall Street isn't sure if the automaker can take advantage of those opportunities. GM, however, is more optimistic about its ability to cash in on those trends, and others.
General Motors is tackling autonomous-vehicle development through its acquisition of Cruise Automation, developing its shared mobility programs under its Maven brand, and working on ways to generate revenue through the OnStar connected-car platform and the driver-miles data it collects. GM already has 180 Cruise autonomous test vehicles, Maven is operating in 13 major cities, and executives believe the company's next electrified-vehicle platform will be profitable.
Detroit's largest automaker is also committed to returning value to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. In fact, GM has returned $25 billion from 2012 through 2017; repurchases have reduced shares outstanding by about 25%.
The future of the automotive industry may very well be zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. While the road to that future contains uncertainty and risk, if GM continues to focus on solutions for those trends, it could be a lucrative stock to own over the long term.
Cameco isn't exactly a household name, mostly because it's one of the world's largest producers of uranium -- not a standard consumer good. And from 2011 through 2016, the company suffered from weak uranium prices, as the post-Fukushima world was left with delayed restarts of Japanese reactors and an oversupply of uranium.
The good news is that Cameco announced in November that it would cut production starting in January 2018; Kazakhstan, which generates almost 40% of global primary uranium production, echoed that cut with its own announcement in early December. Those production cuts should push uranium prices higher over the next couple of years, and investors jumped on board quickly, pushing shares of Cameco higher after the announcement.
But the growth story for Cameco revolves around China's nuclear ambitions. China is trying to reduce its reliance on coal, which has contributed to massive pollution issues in the country; nuclear power reactors are part of the solution. China has 38 nuclear reactors in operation and already has 19 under construction, making the country the fastest-expanding nuclear-power generator in the world.
Investors have questioned whether Cameco's 3.3% dividend yield is sustainable with weak uranium prices, but so far management has pulled it off. If the market improves, China's nuclear ambitions continue, and the world avoids more Fukushima disasters, Cameco could be a lucrative long-term dividend option.