Major stock market indexes are hitting all-time highs. The current bull market is the longest one ever and is now in its 11th year. You might think it would be hard to find bargain stocks. And you probably think that it's even harder to find bargain dividend stocks.
While most dividend stocks are relatively pricey, there are still some bargains to be found. Three dividend stocks that you can buy on sale right now are AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), and Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ).
If you're looking for a dividend stock with a fantastic pedigree, you'll love AbbVie. The company is a Dividend Aristocrat with 48 consecutive years of dividend increases, including its time as part of Abbott Labs. Since being spun off from Abbott in 2013, AbbVie has boosted its dividend payout by a whopping 168%. Its dividend yield now stands at 5.5%.
AbbVie shares trade at a little over nine times expected earnings, well below the valuation of most big pharma stocks. It's cheap for a reason: Investors are worried about the company's prospects with its top-selling drug, Humira, facing biosimilar competition in Europe and biosimilars in the U.S. on the way in 2023.
There's no question that declining sales for Humira present a problem to AbbVie. After all, the drug currently generates 58% of the company's total revenue. But I don't think AbbVie's dividend will be in jeopardy at all because of the company's strategy to reduce its dependence on Humira.
A key part of that strategy is the launch of new drugs. AbbVie rolled out two immunology drugs this year, Rinvoq and Skyrizi, that should be huge blockbusters in the near future. The company also already has two cancer drugs with fast-growing sales, Imbruvica and Venclexta. In addition, AbbVie's pending acquisition of Allergan will make it significantly less reliant on Humira. While AbbVie will almost certainly face some bumps in the road over the next few years, its dividend payout should keep giving income-seeking investors a smooth ride.
2. Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences admittedly doesn't have the impressive dividend track record of AbbVie. The big biotech didn't even initiate a dividend program until 2015. But Gilead has shown a solid commitment to paying dividends since then, increasing its payout by nearly 47% in just four years. Its dividend now yields nearly 3.9%.
While many biotech stocks command premium valuations, Gilead's shares trade at close to 9 times expected earnings. The stock has been hammered over the last few years as sales for the company's hepatitis C virus (HCV) franchise declined. Gilead's HCV drugs cured so many patients that the market shrank. At the same time, competition increased, mainly from AbbVie.
But Gilead continues to dominate the HIV market. Biktarvy appears to be on track to become the best-selling HIV drug of all time. The biotech is also achieving significant clinical progress with potential long-acting HIV therapy GS-6207, a drug that RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams views as the future of Gilead's HIV franchise.
Gilead is also expanding into new therapeutic areas. It hopes to win U.S. and European regulatory approval for filgotinib in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The biotech's pipeline includes drugs targeting nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a liver disease with no approved treatments yet. Gilead remains the leader in cancer cell therapy as well with Yescarta picking up momentum. The company appears to be in a solid position to keep its attractive dividends flowing.
3. Verizon Communications
Not every bargain dividend stock is in the healthcare space. Telecommunications giant Verizon has increased its dividend for 13 years in a row. Its dividend yield currently stands at 4.1%.
Verizon isn't quite as cheap as AbbVie and Gilead, but its valuation still appears to be quite attractive. Shares trade at 12 times expected earnings. On another popular valuation metric, enterprise value-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), Verizon is even cheaper than the two healthcare stocks and its chief rival, AT&T.
The primary reason Verizon is priced at such a discount is the intense competition in the telecom industry. Verizon and its rivals are cutting prices to retain and attract customers. They're also competing by offering bundling deals with TV streaming services. For example, Verizon is bundling a one-year subscription to Disney's new Disney+ streaming service with its own unlimited wireless plans and certain other products.
Despite the stiff competition, though, Verizon's dividend program shouldn't be fazed at all. The company also should have a new growth driver with the rollout of high-speed 5G networks.