When market volatility hits hard, like it has in October and November, investors have all the more reason to appreciate high-quality dividend stocks. Though stock prices can rise and fall alongside market volatility, dividends are less likely to see any sudden changes -- especially dividends paid by profitable market leaders.
Fortunately, a pullback in many stocks over the last month and a half has created some compelling buying opportunities for opportunistic investors. Therefore, if you're looking to beef up your portfolio with more income-generating stocks, now is a good time to go shopping. One stock, in particular, looks attractive after its recent sell-off: Apple (AAPL 1.37%).
What drove Apple stock lower?
A portion of Apple's decline over the last month and a half can be attributed to an overall pullback in the prices of tech stocks, as evidenced by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite's 11% decline during this timeframe.
However, there's more to Apple's decline than broader-market headwinds. Rumors that Apple's iPhone XR is not performing as well as expected have been weighing on the tech giant's stock as well. On Monday, well-regarded Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cut his fiscal 2019 shipment estimates for the new iPhone from 100 million units to 70 million units.
Are these good reasons for a 17% pullback in Apple's stock price? Probably not.
Why buy Apple stock?
First, there's the simple fact that Apple is paying out a higher dividend yield today than it was last month thanks to its stock's sharp decline. Down 17% since October 1, Apple now has a dividend yield of 1.5%, up from 1.2% at the start of last month.
Further, investors who buy Apple stock today not only get a higher dividend yield than they would have if they'd bought a few months ago, but they'll get a rapidly growing dividend as well. Highlighting how Apple has prioritized its dividend, the company has increased the quarterly payout at an average rate of about 11% annually over the past five years. Further, Apple most recently increased its dividend by a more meaningful 16%.
The case for Apple stock goes beyond the company's dividend. Despite all the recent negative headlines surrounding Apple's latest iPhone cycles, the tech giant's latest results show a thriving iPhone business. In Apple's most recent quarter, for instance, iPhone revenue was up 29% year over year. Further, for Apple's entire fiscal year of 2018, iPhone revenue increased an impressive 18% year over year. With this background in mind, it's tough to say Apple's iPhone business is struggling.
Sure, investors will want to keep an eye on Apple's iPhone business in the coming quarters; but recent results show a market leader that continues to flex its pricing power, leading to sharp revenue and earnings-per-share growth. Apple's revenue and earnings per share increased 16% and 29% year over year, respectively, in fiscal 2018.
Fortunately, Apple doesn't need to grow iPhone revenue meaningfully to live up to its valuation. After the stock's pullback recently, shares are now trading at just 17 times earnings. And even if Apple's iPhone business does run into headwinds in the coming years, the company has two fast-growing segments that look poised to be meaningful catalysts for years to come. Apple's services and "other products" segments, which together account for 23% of total revenue, saw their revenue increase 24% and 35% year over year, respectively, in fiscal 2018 -- and strong momentum in the App store and in wearables should help these two segments keep growing rapidly.