Owning dividend stocks can be a great way to both generate cash flow and beat the market long term. And if you can find stocks that are overlooked or underappreciated by the market, it can give a leg up to your investment plans.
For a few different reasons, I think AT&T (T 0.57%), ExxonMobil (XOM -1.79%), and Las Vegas Sands (LVS 0.18%) are being undervalued by the market, and they're dividend payers I think investors should own right now.
The wireless giant
There may not be a more underappreciated segment of the market than telecommunications stocks. AT&T's stock has a lofty dividend yield of 5.2%, which is what we expect to see from a struggling consumer company or a REIT. But AT&T has a lot going for it and potential growth.
You can see below that AT&T is solidly profitable with its current telecommunications business. Earnings might be choppy, but over time they're steadily growing, and so is revenue.
I think AT&T is underappreciated because of the upcoming growth from 5G technology. With ultra-fast download speeds that can reach over 1 GB per second, 5G can make everything we already do with mobile devices faster and also enables new technologies like self-driving cars, virtual reality, and connected cities. But the biggest impact for AT&T could be home broadband going to 5G rather than expensive broadband connections. There are potentially hundreds of millions of new devices and locations that will be connected with 5G, and that could drive a decade of growth, which makes AT&T a great dividend stock to own today.
Oil's giant dividend
As much as I think there's going to be disruption in the energy industry over the next few decades, the growth of electric vehicles and alternative energy has been slower than many would have hoped. And surprisingly, oil consumption in the U.S. and worldwide has been on the rise. That's great news for ExxonMobil and its 5% dividend yield.
The chart below shows both ExxonMobil's steady stream of profits as well as the steady growth in oil consumption, which shows no sign of slowing.
Revenue and earnings will swing from time to time as oil prices rise and fall, but as a major oil company, ExxonMobil can ride those waves and remain profitable along the way. Unless oil consumption begins to fall worldwide, I think this will be a steady dividend stock, and the yield is worth another look for energy investors.
A dividend to gamble on
Some investors won't buy casino stocks for any reason, but that gives the rest of us an opportunity for some great yields. Las Vegas Sands is the biggest and most established of the casino dividend payers, and with its distribution expected to rise to $3.16 annually in 2020, it has an implied yield of 5% today.
What I think is important to understand about Las Vegas Sands is that it's a cash flow machine but not a growth stock anymore. For two decades, the company has been building casino after casino, which requires billions of dollars of investment, using up most of its cash flow plus some debt. But now, it's not spending as much on new construction; it's maintaining existing properties and extracting cash flow from the casinos and resorts it operates. That positive cash flow is what makes this a great dividend stock. And as long as people are looking for entertainment, this will be a steady performer for investors.
Las Vegas Sands also has casinos in markets like Macao and Singapore, where supply is limited to a few companies, so it's insulated from competition. Unless gambling in Asia takes a nosedive, both regions will be pouring cash into the company's coffers for the foreseeable future.
Great dividends right under our noses
AT&T, ExxonMobil, and Las Vegas Sands aren't particularly high growth or even exciting companies to watch for investors, but they generate a lot of cash and return it to shareholders in the form of dividends. The market may not like these stocks given how high the yields are, but I think they're still worth buying today.