Income investors took a big hit during the second quarter as COVID-19 devastated the economy. Overall, dividend payments fell by $42.5 billion compared to the year-ago period as many companies slashed or suspended their payouts to preserve cash. Because of that, and the recent rebound in the stock market, the dividend yield of the S&P 500 is down to 1.7%.
However, while dividends are down, investors can still find some enticing payouts sprinkled around the market. Here are four stocks that currently yield over 4%, more than double the S&P 500's average.
Apartment REIT AvalonBay Communities (AVB 0.59%) currently yields 4.1%. That payout is on solid ground despite all the turmoil in the real estate sector this year. Rental collection rates remained strong, averaging over 95% during the second quarter even as unemployment spiked. Because of that, the REIT's cash flow was stable, providing it with enough money to cover its high-yielding dividend with room to spare. Meanwhile, AvalonBay boasts a high-quality balance sheet backed by A-rated credit and lots of cash. That gives it the funding flexibility to develop and acquire more apartment communities, which should support continued growth in its high-yielding dividend.
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP 0.60%) (BIPC -0.04%) currently yields 4.3%. Supporting that above-average payout is its portfolio of durable infrastructure assets like utilities, pipelines, toll roads, and cell towers. Those businesses proved their resilience in the second quarter as Brookfield's cash flow was very stable despite the market turmoil. Because of that, it generated more than enough money to fund its dividend. Add in the company's top-notch balance sheet, and it has the financial flexibility to continue growing its operations. That should support its plan to grow the dividend in the range of 5% to 9% per year, making Brookfield's high-yield payout stand out given that so many other companies have cut their dividends this year.
Renewable energy producer Clearway Energy (CWEN 0.48%) (CWEN.A) now yields 4.9% after providing its investors with a monster dividend increase this month. The company can easily support that higher payout thanks to its business model's overall stability, where it primarily sells power to utilities under long-term, fixed-rate contracts. The company also has a solid financial profile, which gives it the flexibility to continue making acquisitions. It has several deals in the pipeline, which should boost its cash flow over the coming years. That supports Clearway's view that it can increase its dividend at a 5% to 8% annual rate, with upper-end growth expected in 2021.
Canadian pipeline giant TC Energy (TRP 0.21%) yields 5.1%. Like the others on this list, that payout is on sustainable financial footing. That's because the company has a very resilient business model that insulates it from fluctuations in commodity prices and volumes. That durability was on full display during the turbulent second quarter as TC Energy's cash flow was reasonably stable, declining slightly due primarily to asset sales. It sold those businesses to help finance its large slate of expansion projects, which should give it the fuel to increase its dividend by another 8% to 10% next year while growing it at a 5% to 7% annual pace after that. That would allow TC Energy to build on its already impressive history of increasing its dividend for 20 straight years.
High yields with upside
AvalonBay, Brookfield Infrastructure, Clearway Energy, and TC Energy all currently pay well-supported dividends that yield more than double the S&P 500's average. However, what makes them stand out even more is that each believes it can keep growing its already above-average payouts. Driving those views is the overall durability of their cash flows and the strength of their balance sheets, which gives them the flexibility to develop new projects and make acquisitions. That makes them ideal dividend stocks to hold for the long haul.