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Why AbbVie Is a Fantastic Dividend Stock to Buy During the Coronavirus Market Crash

By Keith Speights - Apr 5, 2020 at 7:36AM

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This pharma stock should be a solid pick for income-seeking investors.

It's hard to be optimistic when there seems to be nothing but bad news. The numbers of individuals infected with novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 continue to climb. Hospitals are overwhelmed. People are losing their jobs as their employers shut down. And stocks are in a bear market for the first time in over a decade.

But the U.S. has always overcome adversity and bounced back. It will do so again. 

In the meantime, for those fortunate enough to have some cash available to invest, the coronavirus-fueled bear market presents some opportunities to make your financial future more secure. In particular, buying strong dividend stocks right now could allow you to lock in really attractive dividend yields.  

I think that AbbVie (ABBV 0.37%) is a fantastic dividend stock to buy in the midst of the coronavirus market crash. Here are three reasons why.

Bag with dividends printed on it underneath a black umbrella

Image source: Getty Images.

1. An impressive dividend track record

AbbVie's dividend yield of close to 6.3% will probably make your mouth water. I think, though, that the drugmaker's track record with its dividend program is what really makes it stand out.

Including the time when it was a part of Abbott Labs, AbbVie has increased its dividend for 47 consecutive years. The company isn't too far away from joining the elite group of stocks known as Dividend Kings -- members of the S&P 500 that have raised their dividends for 50 years in a row.

Since being spun off from Abbott in 2013, AbbVie has boosted its dividend payout by a total of 195%. That translates to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 17% for the big pharma company's dividend. 

Some companies might consider cutting their dividends during tough economic times. But AbbVie has increased its dividend throughout the malaise of the 1970s, the stock market crash of 1987, the terrorist attack on 9/11, and the Great Recession. The company's steadfast commitment to raising its dividend makes me confident that AbbVie will keep its impressive dividend track record going.

2. A compelling valuation

AbbVie's share price has declined quite a bit during the coronavirus market crash. Could it fall even more? Sure. However, I think the stock has more of a cushion than many other stocks do.

Thanks to the recent sell-off, AbbVie's shares now trade at around 7.4 times expected earnings. That compelling valuation gives AbbVie a cushion, in my view.

If the stock price of a profitable, well-respected company like AbbVie falls to a certain point where its valuation is simply too attractive to pass up, investors will rush in to buy shares. I don't think that AbbVie's shares can sink a lot more than they already have before it reaches the level where that scenario occurs.

3. A steady revenue stream

You could throw the first two points out the window if AbbVie was in danger of having its revenue dry up. That's exactly what could happen for some companies during the COVID-19 crisis, for example, cruise lines and some retailers. However, this isn't a problem for AbbVie.

AbbVie's revenue stream should be nice and steady for the most part even with the measures being taken to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Patients can't go for very long without their prescription drugs, especially for the kinds of diseases that AbbVie's top drugs treat.

Sure, AbbVie's blockbuster drug Humira faces challenges with biosimilar rivals already on the market in Europe and on the way in the U.S. beginning in 2023. However, the company has planned for the eventual sales decline for Humira for years. It has two new immunology drugs, Rinvoq and Skyrizi, that should take up a lot of the slack. 

Also, AbbVie shouldn't be as dependent on Humira in the near future. The company's pending acquisition of Allergan should close within the next couple of months. This deal will add several new drugs that are generating strong sales growth to AbbVie's lineup, notably including Botox and antipsychotic drug Vraylar. 

Some good news

Even with the headwinds for Humira, Wall Street analysts project that AbbVie will be able to grow its earnings by close to 5% annually over the next five years. This level of earnings growth combined with a juicy dividend yield north of 6% should enable AbbVie to deliver solid returns for long-term investors.

Keith Speights owns shares of AbbVie. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

AbbVie Inc. Stock Quote
AbbVie Inc.
$142.60 (0.37%) $0.52
Allergan plc Stock Quote
Allergan plc
Abbott Laboratories Stock Quote
Abbott Laboratories
$111.48 (0.90%) $0.99

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