With stock prices surging in the past year, dividend yields have gone in the opposite direction. The current average across the S&P 500 is down to 1.75% after the index has rallied 27% in the past year.
However, income-seeking investors still have some places they can go to collect a well-above-average payout. One of those is the energy midstream sector, where yields remain high because of all the turbulence in the oil market in recent years. Here are five great options yielding at least 5%.
Crestwood Equity Partners: Current yield 7.4%
Crestwood Equity Partners (NYSE:CEQP) has spent the past several years firming up its financial foundation and expanding its midstream footprint. Those efforts are beginning to pay dividends, as its free cash flow is on track to surge this year, while it boasts some of the strongest financial metrics in its peer group. As a result, the master limited partnership (MLP) is now in the position to start growing its already attractive payout. It plans to boost its by 4.2% this year and will probably continue growing it at a sustainable rate for the next several years.
Enbridge: Current yield 6%
Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) has treated income-seeking investors like royalty over the years. That has continued this year as the company increased its dividend by another 9.8%, marking its 25th consecutive year of dividend growth. That payout is on a firm foundation, since predictable fee-based contracts supply Enbridge with 98% of its cash flow. Furthermore, the company pays out only about 65% of those funds, and it has a strong investment-grade balance sheet. That gives Enbridge the financial flexibility to invest in expansion projects, which keep its dividend growth engine well fueled. In its view, it can continue growing its payout by at least 5% to 7% per year in the future.
Magellan Midstream Partners: Current yield 6.3%
Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE:MMP) has also done an excellent job growing its payout over the years. The MLP has given its investors a raise 70 times since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2001. That trend should continue at least through the next couple of quarters. Driving that view is Magellan's top-notch balance sheet backed by the highest credit rating among MLPs and the visible cash flow growth it has coming down the pipeline.
Plains All American Pipeline: Current yield 7.6%
Plains All American (NYSE:PAA), like Crestwood, spent the past few years shoring up its financial foundation. Those efforts paid off as it reached an inflection point last year, which allowed it to boost its payout by 20%. While Plains All American expects its cash flow and distribution growth rate to moderate in the near term, it has a strong financial profile and excellent growth prospects. The MLP should therefore be able to continue growing its payout by a decent rate for at least the next several years.
Phillips 66 Partners: Current yield 5.4%
Phillips 66 Partners (NYSE:PSXP) has been an excellent dividend growth stock since its formation in 2013. Overall, the MLP has increased its payout in all 27 quarters since its IPO. That streak should continue for at least the next couple of years. Not only does Phillips 66 Partners have a top-notch financial profile, but it also has several expansion projects on track to start up later this year. That means 2020 will be big year for this high-yielding stock.
These stocks offer much more than an above-average yield
Most investors continue to shy away from midstream companies even though the sector is on a much stronger footing these days. Valuations across the space remain low, which is keeping yields high.
However, as attractive as those current payouts might be, they're only part of the equation. Thanks to their improved financial profiles, each one of these companies has the flexibility to expand their operations, which is helping grow their cash flow. That's giving them the fuel to increase their already well-above-average payouts, making them even more attractive to income-seeking investors.