What's better than a great dividend? I'd put a dividend that has a great chance of doubling in a relatively short period of time near the top of the list.
The best way to find stocks with dividends with the potential for doubling is to look at three key factors. First, check out the company's payout ratio. If it's barely able to fund the dividend program now, don't expect much in the way of dividend increases. Second, evaluate the company's prospects for earnings growth. Weak earnings growth typically means a low chance of strong dividend growth. Third, see how much the dividend has grown in recent years. Companies that have been committed to increasing their dividends in the past are more likely to do so in the future.
With these criteria in mind, here are three attractive dividend stocks whose dividends could double that especially stand out (listed in alphabetical order).
Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is a rarity among biotech stocks in that it claims a strong dividend program. The company's dividend yield currently stands at 2.65%. Amgen uses less than 44% of its earnings to pay dividends, indicating plenty of flexibility for increasing the dividend in the future.
While Amgen's earnings grew nearly 11% annually on average over the last five years, Wall Street analysts expect the rate of growth to slow to around 8% in the coming years. Several of Amgen's older drugs now face stiff competition from biosimilars or generics.
However, Amgen still has some big winners in its lineup with great growth prospects. It recently acquired blockbuster immunology drug Otezla thanks to regulators requiring the drug to be sold off to pave the way for Bristol-Myers Squibb's acquisition of Celgene. Amgen's osteoporosis drugs Prolia, Xgeva, and Evenity plus new migraine drug Aimovig and leukemia drug Blincyto should all drive future sales growth as well.
Amgen's track record of dividend hikes is impressive. The company has more than doubled its dividend payout over the last five years. And since Amgen initiated its dividend program in 2011, the dividend is up a whopping 471%.
2. Bank of America
Many big banks offer attractive dividends. Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) dividend yield of a little over 2% is lower than several of its peers, but it's arguably in a better position than most to double its dividend over the next few years given its payout ratio of only 23%.
Analysts think Bank of America will be able to increase its earnings by more than 7% annually on average over the next five years. That's admittedly a lot lower than what the company has achieved in recent years -- but that was a heady time for most of the financial sector.
There's certainly a question about how interest rate fluctuations could affect Bank of America's earnings. Falling interest rates took a toll on earnings in the company's latest quarter. Still, Bank of America appears to be in a solid position for future earnings growth.
Bank of America's dividend has shot up 140% in just the last three years. The financial crisis that led to the Great Recession caused the company to slash its dividend in 2009. After going a few years without dividend increases, though, Bank of America appears to be back on course to deliver solid dividend hikes year in and year out.
3. Innovative Industrial Properties
Dividends and investing in marijuana stocks don't usually go together. But Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) is a notable exception. The cannabis-focused real estate investment trust (REIT) sports a dividend that currently yields more than 4.7%.
One potential concern is that IIP is spending more to fund its dividend program than it's actually making in profit. However, it's better to look at the payout ratio based on adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) for REITs. In IIP's case. its AFFO payout ratio is around 96% right now. The company's target is to maintain an AFFO payout ratio between 75% and 85% over the long run.
IIP shouldn't have any problems growing its dividend with its excellent growth prospects. The company's earnings more than quadrupled year over year in the third quarter of 2019, with AFFO soaring 126%. IIP's strategy of expanding its portfolio of properties to lease to medical cannabis properties should enable continued growth as the company moves into additional states that have legalized medical cannabis.
If you liked the dividend growth for Amgen and Bank of America over the last few years, you'll probably love IIP. Its dividend payout jumped 122% over the past 12 months and is up nearly 567% since 2017.