Dividend-paying stocks can make you rich. The wealth-building combination of steadily increasing cash payouts and rising stock prices can help you earn a fortune in the stock market, while delivering a bountiful income stream along the way.
The key, of course, is to know which stocks to buy. To help you in this regard, here are 10 of the best dividend stocks available in the market today -- all of which are poised to deliver handsome gains to investors in the coming years.
1. Gilead Sciences: 3.3% dividend yield
The race for a coronavirus cure is likely to produce some winning investments. Biotechnology giant Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) is a key player in the pursuit of an effective treatment for COVID-19. Gilead's experimental drug remdesivir is currently being tested in multiple phase 3 clinical trials, and early results have been promising. If remdesivir proves to be safe and effective, Gilead would likely see a sizable sales boost, while helping to put an end to the pandemic.
2. Johnson & Johnson: 2.7% yield
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is another powerful ally in the war against COVID-19. The healthcare colossus is investing more than $1 billion to find a vaccine for the deadly disease.
JNJ plans to begin clinical trials by September, and it's bolstering its manufacturing facilities so as to be capable of producing over 1 billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine. In the meantime, J&J continues to pay a steadily increasing dividend to its investors.
3. Clorox: 2.2% yield
In addition to medicinal treatments and vaccines, there's a dire need for cleaning products that can help people sanitize their homes and offices. Clorox (NYSE:CLX) is helping to meet the incredible demand for disinfectants, and its bleach, wipes, and hand sanitizers are flying off store shelves and out of e-commerce fulfillment centers.
With cleaning procedures likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future, so too should Clorox's profits. Thus, it's a safe bet that the bleach behemoth's 42 years of consecutive dividend increases will continue for many years to come.
4. Costco: 0.9% yield
As people stock up on food and other supplies in order to comply with stay-at-home directives, they often turn to Costco (NASDAQ:COST) to obtain what they need. The discount warehouse chain is beloved by its members for its low prices and well-curated selection of quality goods. Investors also love Costco, which has delivered market-crushing returns over much of the past decade.
And while Costco's dividend yield is relatively low, that's mostly a function of its strong share price appreciation in recent years. Notably, Costco typically pays a special dividend every few years, which helps to boost its yield and investors' overall returns.
5. Target: 2.4% yield
Like Costco, Target (NYSE:TGT) is experiencing higher sales as people stock up on food and household supplies during the pandemic. Bolstered by its acquisition of same-day delivery platform Shipt, Target has become a leader in online retail.
In turn, the discount retailer is serving as a key supplier to people who wish to stay home and stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis. And thanks to its low prices and ultra-fast delivery options, many of these people are likely to remain long-term customers.
6. Verizon: 4.2% yield
The best dividend stocks are companies that offer not just products and services that people are buying more of, but also those they're unlikely to go without.
Internet and mobile phone services certainly fit the bill, as people and businesses are not likely to want to lose communication with the outside world in the middle of a pandemic. This makes wireless leader Verizon (NYSE:VZ) a highly defensive investment -- and one that will allow you to sleep well at night while you own it.
7. Altria: 8.6% yield
Like wireless services, people are likely to continue to buy cigarettes during the coronavirus crisis. In fact, some analysts expect cigarette sales to rise as smokers spend more time at home and away from areas where smoking is prohibited, due to stay-at-home orders. Tobacco titan Altria (NYSE:MO) could be a key beneficiary here, as can its investors, thanks in part to its stock's ultra-high dividend yield.
8. Innovative Industrial Properties: 5.6% yield
Higher stress levels during the pandemic could also lead people to consume cannabis more often. Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) is a great way to profit from both the near- and long-term growth of the legalized marijuana market. IIP acquires properties that can be used to produce medical marijuana and leases them to licensed growers in the U.S. And as a real estate investment trust (REIT), IIP is required to pass nearly all of its profits on to its investors.
9. Brookfield Infrastructure Partners: 5.7% yield
As part of his plan to combat the economic devastation brought about by COVID-19, President Trump is calling for $2 trillion in infrastructure spending. Leading
Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are also in favor of increased infrastructure investments. Should this come to pass, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP) stands to benefit. The U.S. government appears set to greenlight a host of new projects, which could provide Brookfield with a bounty of new value-creating investment opportunities.
10. Microsoft: 1.2% yield
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is another great infrastructure play, but its assets lie in the cloud. Microsoft's Azure cloud computing infrastructure platform is growing at a torrid rate, to the tune of 62% revenue growth in its most recent quarter.
The tech titan also boasts some of the world's most valuable cloud-based software, including its massively popular Office 365 productivity suite. Together with its venerable Windows operating software, these businesses provide Microsoft -- and its investors -- with multiple ways to profit in 2020 and beyond.