You might expect to pay a premium for the stocks of solid companies that offer attractive dividends. And usually, you do have to pay up for such stocks.
But that's not always the case. Despite the nice run for the stock market in recent months, some quality dividend stocks are still bargains. Here are three dividend stocks that I think are embarrassingly cheap right now.
1. Bank of America
Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) dividend currently yields 2.9%. The financial services giant has heavily prioritized its dividend program, raising its dividend payout by a whopping 260% over the last five years.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, though, Bank of America stock is quite inexpensive. Its shares are still down close to 30% year to date. The stock trades at 12 times trailing-12-month earnings and around 16 times expected earnings. Bank of America shares are also trading at only 90% of the company's book value.
Granted, Bank of America faces some challenges. It's already bracing for substantial loan losses as a result of the pandemic. If the economy doesn't recover quickly enough, the company could feel more pain. Bank of America is especially exposed to credit card loans -- which tend to be riskier during recessions.
However, the company's long-term prospects still appear to be strong. There's no question that Bank of America is well-managed and delivered solid revenue growth over the last decade. Once the economy improves (and it will, sooner or later), I look for Bank of America to return to its historically higher valuation.
2. Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) offers a dividend yield that's north of 3% right now. Anyone worrying that the big drugmaker's acquisition of Celgene late last year might hurt BMS' ability to pay a strong dividend had those fears put to rest. After the transaction closed in November, BMS boosted its dividend by 9.8%.
The pharma stock is also dirt cheap. BMS shares trade at under 10 times expected earnings. Its price-to-earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio stands at 0.98. Any PEG ratio value below 1.0 is considered to be an attractive level.
Wall Street analysts predict that BMS will deliver average annual earnings growth of nearly 22% over the next five years. That kind of growth is rare for big pharma companies. But BMS' lineup is loaded with blockbuster winners, including blood thinner Eliquis, cancer immunotherapies Opdivo and Yervoy, and autoimmune disease drug Orencia.
The Celgene acquisition boosted BMS' growth prospects with other blockbusters -- blood cancer drugs Revlimid and Pomalyst and solid tumor drug Abraxane. This deal also provided newer drugs with great potential, notably including multiple sclerosis drug Zeposia and Reblozyl, which treats anemia in rare blood diseases beta-thalassemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
3. CVS Health
CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) has kept its dividend payout unchanged over the last three years. But it wasn't because of financial concerns. Instead, the company wanted to focus on reducing its debt related to the 2018 acquisition of Aetna. Even with a flat dividend, though, CVS Health's dividend yield still stands at nearly 3.2%.
The healthcare stock hasn't completely bounced back from its low levels in March following the coronavirus-fueled stock market meltdown. The good news, however, is that CVS Health's valuation remains attractive with shares trading at around nine times expected earnings.
There could be some bumps in the road for CVS Health moving forward. The Trump administration's push to change how Medicare Part D rebates to drugmakers are handled could negatively impact CVS Health's pharmacy benefits management (PBM) business. The company also faces the potential for increased competition from Amazon.com. The e-commerce giant acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and has been making other moves into healthcare.
But CVS Health should benefit from aging demographic trends over the long run, which should drive higher demand for prescription drugs. The company also has opportunities to leverage its unique position as a pharmacy retailer, PBM, and health insurer to offer innovative new products that help control healthcare costs.