It's pretty much nothing but coronavirus and COVID-19 coverage non-stop everywhere you turn. Quite frankly, that's the way it should be. The pandemic is serious and requires sober-minded efforts to minimize its effects. But I suspect that many Americans are feeling COVID-19 information overload right now.
There's a great way to take your mind off the viral outbreak and set yourself up for long-term profits at the same time. How, you ask? Invest in dividend stocks that now have much higher yields thanks to the stock market crash. If you're sick and tired of hearing about the coronavirus, here are three great dividend stocks to buy right now.
AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) shares have fallen during the overall market sell-off, although not as much as the S&P 500 index has. But this drop has made the drugmaker's fantastic dividend yield even more fantastic. AbbVie's dividend now yields a mouthwatering 6%.
And as for that infectious disease that shall not be named, it shouldn't have any effect on AbbVie's business. The company makes its money from prescription drugs for treating blood cancer, endometriosis, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple other diseases. Doctors are going to keep on prescribing those drugs, and patients are going to keep on taking them, whether there's a pandemic spreading or not.
That's not to say that AbbVie doesn't have a challenge or two. Sales for its blockbuster drug Humira are falling in Europe due to competition from biosimilars. The company will face biosimilar rivals in the U.S. in 2023.
However, AbbVie seems to have a good strategy to address the issues. It has launched a couple of new immunology drugs to take the baton from Humira -- Rinvoq and Skyrizi. The company also awaits final regulatory approvals to acquire Allergan, a deal that will significantly reduce reliance on Humira.
Like AbbVie, AT&T (NYSE:T) stock is down, but not as bad as the major market indexes. The telecommunications giant's dividend yield has also become even more attractive and now stands north of 6.6%. That juicy yield combined with a track record of 36 consecutive years of dividend increases makes AT&T a top-tier dividend stock.
But what about that viral you-know-who? AT&T shouldn't have anything to worry about. If anything, there could be greater demand for the company's wireless services if lots of people stay home to avoid the potential of becoming infected.
It's true that AT&T's TV business continues to lose subscribers. There's no guarantee that the company's efforts to offset these losses with its new streaming services will be as successful as the company hopes.
My view, though, is that AT&T's overall prospects remain pretty good and are strong enough to keep the nice dividends flowing and growing. In particular, I like the opportunities for the company as high-speed 5G wireless networks become more widely adopted.
3. Medical Properties Trust
Not every great dividend stock is as large and well-known as AbbVie and AT&T. Medical Properties Trust (NYSE:MPW) shares have tanked close to 25% with the stock market crash, but its dividend yield is now nearly 6.5%.
I think that the sell-off of Medical Properties Trust is way overdone. The company is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses primarily on acute care hospitals. Do you think these hospitals are going to see admissions go down if the virus that rhymes with Sharona hits the U.S. hard? I don't either.
Also, with concerns that the U.S. could slip into a recession, it's a pretty safe bet that the Federal Reserve won't give a second's thought to increasing interest rates. Rates are more likely to go down, which would be good news for Medical Properties Trust because it could borrow money for investing in new properties more cheaply.
My colleague Matt Dilallo wrote recently that Medical Properties Trust is a REIT that's immune to the coronavirus. Sorry for using the word you're sick and tired of hearing, but Matt's exactly right. I view the stock as an excellent choice to buy right now and lock in an attractive dividend yield that's likely to rise in the future.