When you're chasing stocks with high dividend yields, you're ideally looking for stocks with yields above those of the S&P 500 or a typical income benchmark like the U.S. Treasury Note. But to build wealth, it's important that you don't just run after the yield, but ensure that the stocks are in a position to maintain or even grow their yield in the long term.
You can find plenty of such high-yield dividend stocks even in the present volatile market only if you know where to look. Right now, I have my eyes set on three such top stocks for their high yields.
This company is involved in a major transformation
Utility stocks are known for their generous dividends, but that aside, there's a lot happening at PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) that makes it an intriguing stock right now. With a dividend yield of 5.8%, PPL currently offers one of the highest yields among dividend-paying utility stocks. The company has paid a dividend every quarter since 1946 and has grown it regularly, especially in the past decade.
PPL stock, however, has taken a pretty big hit this year and is down nearly 21% as of this writing. Its U.K. utility operations are largely to blame, as the political uncertainty in the nation weighed on the company's operations, and miffed investors.
Given the backdrop, PPL's latest announcement should come as a breather: The company has initiated a "formal process" to sell its U.K. Western Power Distribution operations, with an aim to "position PPL as a purely U.S.-focused utility holding company and create additional shareowner value."
PPL further intends to use the sale proceeds primarily to strengthen its balance sheet and improve earnings growth in the long term through potential growth opportunities in the U.S., while returning capital to shareholders.
Now, the company has just started looking for potential suitors for its U.K. business, and there's no knowing when and how much money it'll be able to raise from the divestment. But what's notable is management's intent to unlock greater value for shareholders by making PPL a U.S. pure-play utility that's more reliant on clean energy -- the company aims to pump $14 billion into clean energy resources between 2020 and 2024. If things go in PPL's favor, income investors should be rewarded in the long run.
Invest in the future of energy
Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP)(NYSE:BEPC) has handily outperformed the market over the past decade and grown its dividend at a swift pace over the years. The stock currently yields 4%, with plenty of room to grow.
With its recent acquisition of TerraForm Power, Brookfield is one of the world's largest pure-play renewable energy companies today with 19,300 megawatts (MW) of capacity and more than 5,000 power-generation facilities throughout the world. While the company specializes in hydropower, it's also lately increased investment in solar and wind substantially.
Additionally, 95% of Brookfield's cash flow comes from long-term contractual agreements, which explain the steady growth in dividends. The company aims to grow funds from operations by 6%-11% and its annual dividend by 5%-9% in the long term, backed largely by organic growth. Brookfield currently has a massive 18,000 MW of development projects in the pipeline.
With a strong balance sheet, to boot, and the backing of parent Brookfield Asset Management, Brookfield Renewable's growth prospects are incredibly strong. Brookfield Renewable's focus on expanding organically and its projected dividend growth should support a high dividend yield, offering investors steady income for years to come.
A Buffett stock you simply can't ignore
Real estate investment trusts, or REITS, are popular among income investors, as REITs are structurally required to pay 90% or more of their taxable income to shareholders. STORE Capital (NYSE:STOR) is one such REIT that currently offers a hefty dividend yield of 5.5%.
If you haven't heard about STORE Capital, it's a net-lease REIT that invests in and manages single-tenant properties, primarily in service, manufacturing, and retail sectors. As of the end of the second quarter, STORE had 2,554 properties leased to 503 customers across diverse industries, including restaurants, early childhood education, automotive repair and maintenance, pet care, and medical, to name a few.
The coronavirus pandemic undeniably hit STORE's business, but the REIT collected 86% of its rents this month as of August 17, reflecting lockdown easing and the reopening of businesses.
As a net-lease REIT, STORE typically signs long-term agreements with tenants with built-in annual rent escalators, which offers security of cash flows year after year. That also makes STORE's dividend durable: The company has increased its dividend every year since becoming public in 2014. That and a high yield make STORE a promising dividend stock.
Wait. There's another reason why the stock might pique your interest: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is one of STORE Capital's stakeholders. Berkshire, in fact, added another 5.79 million shares of STORE to its portfolio in the second quarter. With that, Berkshire now owns a nearly 10% stake in STORE Capital.