A friend of mine used to joke that she was looking for Mr. Right, but all she ever found was Mr. Right Now. Luckily for investors, when it comes to dividend stocks, sometimes the best ones are both "right" (for your portfolio) and good buys "right now."
Let's take a look at two top dividend stocks, Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A)(NYSE:RDS-B), which both pay generous yields. Here's why they might be both right and right now for your dividend-focused portfolio.
A company with a growing yield
Kinder Morgan, the world's largest pipeline owner, recently announced a stellar Q1 2018 in which it brought in more than $1.2 billion in cash flow, saw both volumes and earnings increase, and (most importantly for dividend investors) boosted its dividend by 60%. It's now yielding 3.4%. And with shares trading at near-historic lows, the company has a lot of room for price appreciation.
But it hasn't been all roses and lollipops for Kinder Morgan. In 2016, management made a (probably necessary) quarterly dividend cut from $0.51 per share to $0.125 per share. One reason for the cut was the company's dismal balance sheet: Its debt level was creeping toward seven times EBITDA, which was unacceptably high. The company has made some progress, knocking that ratio down to 6.2 times EBITDA, but the company clearly has more work to do.
Of course, you can't have everything. Besides its debt level -- which, as I mentioned, has been heading in the right direction, albeit slowly -- Kinder Morgan seems to be doing well. The company also is trading at a discount to its peers on an enterprise value (EV)-to-EBITDA basis. When you combine that with its healthy yield, Kinder Morgan is a top stock to consider for dividend investors.
A massive company with a big yield
You may never have heard of Kinder Morgan, but I'm pretty sure you've heard of Royal Dutch Shell. Besides having an incredibly recognizable logo at filling stations around the country, the integrated oil major also is one of the largest companies in the world...and it's taking steps to ensure it stays that way. If you take Royal Dutch Shell's 5.4% yield into consideration, dividend investors will want to be along for the ride.
Thanks to high oil prices coupled with cost-cutting measures it implemented during the three-year oil price slump that ended last year, Shell knocked its most recent quarter (Q1 2018) out of the park. Net income was up a jaw-dropping 67% year over year, to $5.9 billion, and the company spat out an impressive $9.4 billion in operating cash flow. Management also announced a plan to start a $25 billion share-buyback program soon.
But even if the current oil prices don't last -- and there's no guarantee that they will -- Shell has been making some bets on its future to keep its investors protected over the long term. CEO Ben Van Beurden has moved aggressively to expand Shell's liquefied natural gas business -- in particular, buying British gas giant BG Group during the oil price slump. Analysts suggests that the LNG market may grow even faster than the oil market in coming years, so a robust LNG business should help insulate Shell and its investors against potential oil slumps in the future.
Now is an excellent time to scoop up shares of this oil industry giant and dividend powerhouse.
Happily ever after
Of course, when my friend was looking for "Mr. Right," she was envisioning a long-term relationship. And when you're considering what stocks to buy, you should also be keeping your eye on the long term, not just focusing on what seems cheap today.
Fortunately for investors, Kinder Morgan and Royal Dutch Shell look like good buys today with excellent prospects for the long term. And the best part is, you don't even need to spring for a fancy wedding.