High-yielding stocks might seem risky as rising interest rates make fixed-income investments more attractive. However, there are still plenty of decent stocks that offer an attractive combination of growth and income. Today, three of our contributors will share a trio of reliable stocks that offer yields of at least 2%: HP (NYSE:HPQ), Aflac (NYSE:AFL), and Chubb (NYSE: CB).
The world's top PC maker
Leo Sun (HP): HP split with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) in late 2015. After the split, HP retained the company's PC and printer businesses, while HPE took over the enterprise hardware, software, and services businesses.
HP may seem like a slow-growth company, since mobile devices and paperless workplaces disrupted the PC and printing markets in recent years. Yet the "new" HP reclaimed its crown as the world's top PC maker with new 2-in-1 devices and high-end ultrabooks, and it expanded its printing business with new mobile printers, industrial 3D printers, and the acquisitions of Samsung's printing unit and office equipment dealer Apogee.
HP has posted three straight quarters of double-digit revenue growth -- with its PC and printer sales rising 14% and 11%, respectively, last quarter. Analysts expect its revenue to rise 11% and for its earnings to climb 21% this year. Those are impressive growth rates for a stock that trades at just 11 times forward earnings.
HP repeatedly stated that it will return 50% to 75% of its free cash flow (FCF) to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. HP currently pays a forward dividend yield of 2.4%, and it hiked that dividend twice after splitting with HPE. HP spent just 22% of its FCF on that dividend over the past 12 months -- which gives it plenty of room for future dividend hikes.
If it walks like a duck
Chuck Saletta (Aflac): Well known for its spokesduck, insurance company Aflac is also well known among investors for its strong, well supported dividend. It has around a 35-year history of increasing its dividend, including a solid 15.6% increase earlier this year. Despite that substantial increase, Aflac's dividend only represents a mere 15.4% payout ratio, giving the company ample room to continue its trends of increases as long as its business continues to grow.
While its 2.4% yield is not all that far above the 2% cutoff for consideration, the substantial quality of that dividend makes it a standout candidate for a potential investment. Not only does it have that great history of increases and low payout ratio, but the markets it chooses to compete in are ones that tend to set it apart from the competition.
In the U.S., Aflac is the largest supplemental insurance provider (excluding Medicare supplementals), offering assistance to cover key costs that regular health insurance plans don't. In Japan, its cancer insurance policies are so ubiquitous that they're even sold in the post office. While insurance profits are never guaranteed, Aflac's unique market positions, low payout ratio, and solid balance sheet offer investors good reasons to believe its dividend will at least be sustained.
Combine that dividend with a market price representing less than 12 times its expected forward earnings, and with Aflac, you have a top company with a solid dividend available at a decent value.
This yield should only grow
Jordan Wathen (Chubb Ltd): Insurance may not be a particularly interesting business, but well-managed insurance companies can be reliable profit-generators that can shower their shareholders in dividends.
Chubb is one such insurer that has demonstrated its ability to manage its risks and earn outsized returns for its shareholders. In each of the last five years, Chubb has produced an underwriting profit, which occurs when an insurer takes in more in premiums than it pays out in losses and operating expenses.
Because it can underwrite more than 200 different policies in 54 countries, Chubb is a true one-stop shop for businesses large and small to get the coverage they need. These policies tend to be more specialized than personal insurance lines, which makes it difficult for its clients to shop around for the lowest possible price. Its renewal rate in North America, its largest geography, was 95% in the most recent quarter, implying that the average customer sticks around for 20 years.
Chubb doesn't grow for growth's sake. It has historically paid out about 30% of its earnings in the form of dividends, supplementing its cash payouts with share repurchases. Though shares yield only 2.1% today, investors can expect reliable single-digit increases in its dividend, along with repurchases that slowly whittle away at the share count, for decades to come.