The trading volume in 2020 has served up record levels of volatility for stocks. Market turbulence and uncertainty due to weakened economic conditions and the coronavirus pandemic have left many investors wondering what comes next.
One bit of good news is that there are still undervalued companies on the market, and income-focused investors have opportunities to build positions in resilient stocks capable of weathering twists and turns and returning cash to shareholders over the long term.
Read on for a look at two high-yield stocks that have underappreciated strengths, trade at low multiples, and are worth adding to your portfolio.
1. Hanesbrands: Solid foundations and a promising growth engine
Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) stock has held up pretty well amid this year's volatile trading. Despite retail pressures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the company's shares have climbed roughly 8% in 2020 so far. On the other hand, the company's stock is still down roughly 35% over the last three years and continues to look undervalued.
Hanesbrands has a market capitalization of roughly $5.6 billion and trades at about 11 times this year's expected earnings, even with a reduced profit outlook due to virus-related retail headwinds. The stock boasts a 3.9% dividend yield at current prices, and the company has managed to maintain its payout despite retail shutdowns and other challenges.
The clothing and apparel company has faced pressure in recent years as mass-channel retailers, including Target and Walmart, have prioritized their own in-house clothing brands. However, Hanesbrands has continued to look pretty solid, and it has a strong returned income component and feasible avenues to better-than-expected growth.
The company's biggest growth engine at the moment is its Champion athleisure clothing and apparel brand. Champion has reemerged as a hot fashion name over the last five years. It looks well-positioned for continued growth amid strong brand affinity with millennials and Gen Z age demographics, and momentum for the athleisure category at large.
Even with pressures from in-house brands at mass retail, Hanesbrands socks, underwear, and t-shirt businesses still look fairly solid. Management also deserves credit for moving quickly to design and manufacture face masks in response to demand created by the coronavirus. All in all, Hanesbrands is looking like a well-run company with sturdy foundations and a potentially strong long-term growth driver in the form of its Champion brand.
Investors prioritizing dividend growth in the near term won't be thrilled to hear that the company's payout has been flat since 2017. With the company focusing on potential acquisitions that can drive growth and the dividend yield already at a healthy level, it's tough to tell when the company will raise its payout again. On the other hand, Hanesbrands has boosted its dividend by 50% over the last five years and tripled it over the last decade, and management has outlined returning capital to shareholders as a core component of stock ownership.
2. AT&T: Fantastic yield and underrated growth opportunities
AT&T's (NYSE:T) problems are well documented. DirecTV, the satellite television business that it acquired for a hefty sum in 2015, has been bleeding subscribers at a worrying clip and doesn't appear to have a feasible path to recovery amid cord-cutting pressures. And while the company's wireless phone and internet business continues to look pretty hearty, tough competition in the category means it's much harder for the segment to be a growth driver.
All of this has been made worse by the fact that potential growth drivers have fallen short of expectations or otherwise been slower than expected to materialize. Coronavirus-related shutdowns have limited the potential contribution from the company's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, with shutdowns creating production obstacles for film and and crushing ticket sales at the box office. The company's HBO Max streaming service has also gotten off to a weaker-than-anticipated start.
These factors, combined with concerns about the company's debt levels, help explain why the stock has slipped roughly 28% over the last three years despite a 29% rise for the level of the S&P 500 index over the same timeframe. The flip side of the stock slide and some associated doom-and-gloom analysis is that AT&T trades at a low earnings multiple, is generating more than enough free cash flow to cover its dividend despite current headwinds, and boasts a great yield.
With the stock trading at less than nine times this year's expected earnings and boasting a 7.1% dividend yield, long-term investors could wind up being well rewarded for embracing the telecom giant's stock despite the challenges at hand. AT&T will likely see a long-term tailwind from the expansion of its 5G wireless network and growth for connected devices in both the consumer and enterprise markets. The next-gen wireless network technology will also present opportunities to grow the company's digital advertising business and Internet of Things and cloud services.
With the problem points at AT&T being so well-documented, the strengths of the company and its stock have come to be underappreciated as well. Income-focused investors have a chance to build a position in a telecom leader that pays a generous dividend and should be relatively resilient amid market volatility.