The best income-generating stocks pay generous dividends, but the companies can also back them up with solid business plans and strong cash flows. If these qualities come paired with a generous yield, that's a truly special combination.
We asked a few of our contributors here at The Motley Fool to share their best ideas for dividend stocks with at least a 3% dividend yield. Read on to see why they would recommend household names Kimberly Clark (NYSE:KMB), Public Storage (NYSE:PSA), and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) right now.
A Dividend Aristocrat in turnaround mode
Rich Duprey (Kimberly Clark): Few companies are able to have as many touchpoints in a consumer's day as does consumer goods giant Kimberly Clark. If you're a parent of an infant, you likely have Huggies diapers on hand; if you ever sneeze, you probably reach for its Kleenex brand tissue; and if you're a woman, you may very well use its Kotex feminine products.
However, that hasn't meant a surfeit of sales these days as revenue was rather stagnant last year at $18.2 billion, virtually unchanged from the year before, as consumer product sales have been under pressure and affecting rivals like Procter & Gamble as well. That's led Kimberly Clark's stock to wilt, too, and it trades just slightly down from where it was this time last year.
The reason it is only slightly down and not a lot more is that the personal care products maker is engineering a turnaround that is starting to drive its performance higher, and its shares have bounced nearly 20% off of their low point. Sales are up 3% over the first six months of 2018, and though profits have been hurt by rising raw materials costs and lower prices, the restructuring program has saved some $240 million year to date.
An investment in Kimberly Clark is a bet on continued operational improvements and further cost reductions. While there's always only so much meat to cut from the bone, the consumer products giant thinks it can trim the fat to the tune of $1.5 billion over three years. In the meantime, while investors are waiting for the rest of the benefits to kick in, their patience is rewarded with a $4 per share annual dividend that's currently yielding 3.4%. Considering it has a 46-year history of raising shareholder payout annually, investors can afford to see the fruits of Kimberly Clark's efforts.
Have a Coke and a 3.3% dividend yield
Anders Bylund (Coca-Cola): The soft-drink giant is a true-blue Dividend Aristocrat. Coke has boosted its payouts in each of the last 55 years, a streak that stretches all the way back to 1963. That's a consistency you can set your watch by.
The increases have been generous in recent years. The annual payout has more than doubled in the last decade, creating this beautiful stairway to dividend heaven:
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola's share price has been stuck in neutral for quite some time. The stock has delivered a measly 3% return so far in 2018, missing out on the S&P 500's 16% rally by a long shot.
When you put rising payouts together with stagnant share prices, you get muscular dividend yields. Coke's yield is floating at 3.3% these days, which is a rare event. For most of the last decade, these yields floated below the 3% mark.
Now, the company is going through a difficult strategic makeover. Top-line sales have been falling consistently since 2013, earnings and cash flows have been unpredictable at best since 2016, and the soft drink market just isn't the reliable cash cow it used to be. Part of the falling sales stems from the company spinning out its bottling operations to a patchwork of franchisees, a move intended to trade sales volume for wider profit margins in the long term.
And that's not all. Coke is revamping its product portfolio in many ways. Low-sugar beverages play an increasingly central role in Coke's portfolio. The company recently bought a chain of British coffee stores. Rumor has it that there is a cannabis-infused drink in the works. Other investments include a 17% stake in energy drink specialist Monster Energy and a smaller nibble on rising sports drink name BodyArmor.
In short, Coke is hardly sitting still. The company is exploring many avenues that could lead back to sustainable growth for the long run. I'm not saying Coca-Cola is a slam-dunk buy today, but if you see the rebuilding efforts paying off, it could make a lot of sense to lock in Coca-Cola's reasonable share prices and juicy dividend yield.
Store this dividend long-term
Daniel Miller (Public Storage): If you're looking for solid dividend stocks paying yields over 3%, real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are an excellent option as they're required to pay out 90% of their taxable income to shareholders, and many pay 100%. One REIT for investors to consider is Public Storage, which has a dividend yield currently approaching 4%.
Public Storage primarily acquires, develops, and operates self-storage facilities with over 2,400 facilities in 38 states and 228 facilities in Western Europe. Essentially, Public Storage generates revenue through rental income from tenants and can grow the top line through price increases in supply-constrained markets, or higher occupancy rates. On the downside, tenant leases tend to be short term in nature, which can lead to a more cyclical-like business.
One factor dividend investors look for in a company is stability, and Public Storage certainly offers that. In fact, over the past few quarters, the company's occupancy rate has easily topped 90% -- and it's even stronger in the supply-constrained west coast regions. Part of its stability comes from its brand name, but also its sheer size advantage: Public Storage has more market share than the next three largest publicly traded self-storage companies combined. Investors can enjoy its dominant market-share position thanks to its early acquisition strategy that gobbled up facilities in a highly fragmented industry.
The good news for dividend investors looking for stable income is that people will always need a place to store extra stuff; that demand isn't going away anytime soon. If Public Storage can continue to maintain high occupancy rates, strong pricing, and avoid entering over-supplied markets, it should continue producing a healthy dividend yield for long-term investors.