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2 No-Brainer Dividend Stocks Yielding More Than 4%

By Prosper Junior Bakiny – Oct 30, 2020 at 7:00AM

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These two drugmakers are unlikely to slash or suspend their dividend payments -- even in the midst of a recession.

For dividend-seeking investors, looking at a stock's yield is important. High yields tend to be more attractive than low yields if all other things remain equal. But in real life, things are rarely equal, so before purchasing shares of a company because of its dividend, it's essential to look beyond how much it dividend pays.

In that spirit, here are two dividend stocks worth buying today: AbbVie (ABBV 0.45%) and Gilead Sciences (GILD 1.75%). Both stocks offer yields greater than 4%, compared to the S&P 500 average of 1.8%. But both have more going for them than just high yields. Let's look closer into why AbbVie and Gilead Sciences are great picks for income-seeking investors. 

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1. AbbVie

Dividend investors will find what they're looking for in AbbVie. The company currently offers a juicy dividend yield of 5.6% and a reasonable cash-payout ratio of 47.5%. The pharma giant has also raised its dividends by 107% over the past five years. The low cash-payout ratio is a good indication that AbbVie can sustain dividend increases, so long as the company continues delivering strong financial results. The drugmaker seems capable of doing just that. 

Although Abbvie's best-selling drug Humira is still losing steam in Europe due to competition from biosimilars, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment continues to make headway in the U.S. That's why during its second quarter ending June 30, Humira's total sales decreased by only 0.7% to $4.8 billion, despite dropping by 19.9% to $863 million in international markets.

At any rate, AbbVie is recouping some of Humira's losses with other drugs that have sales growing at a good clip, including plaque psoriasis treatment Skyrizi. Global sales of Skyrizi for the second quarter were $330 million, more than doubling compared to the prior-year quarter. 

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AbbVie also boasts cancer drugs Venclexta and Imbruvica. The combined revenue from these two medicines increased by 25.5% year over year during the second quarter to $1.6 billion. Let's not forget AbbVie's acquisition of Allergan in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $63 billion. This deal closed in May and allowed AbbVie to get its hands on several other exciting products, most notably Botox. While the company's debt level also increased significantly as a result of the acquisition, AbbVie has pledged to handle this issue as quickly as possible.

According to AbbVie CEO Richard A. Gonzalez, "We remain confident that the AbbVie Allergan combination will generate significant cash flows, which will support our strong and growing dividend and rapid debt repayment and we remain highly committed to both of those priorities." The combination of these factors makes this pharma stock a great buy for income-oriented investors.

2. Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences started the year on a strong note, as the company's antiviral drug remdesivir was considered a promising potential treatment for COVID-19. Lately, the drugmaker has encountered one significant headwind. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denied the approval of filgotinib as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Gilead Sciences had high hopes for this drug, and not just for the RA market.

The company is investigating filgotinib as a treatment for ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn's disease. All hope isn't lost for filgotinib, though, as the FDA wants to know whether it has an impact on sperm parameters. Gilead Sciences is running clinical studies to find that out and should release preliminary results from these clinical trials in the first half of 2021. 

Despite this problem, Gilead Sciences has several things going its way. First, there's remdesivir, which has now earned full FDA approval as a treatment for COVID-19.

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Image source: Getty Images.

The company expects to sell between 1 million to 1.5 million treatment courses of the drug this year alone, and that won't be the end of it, as the pandemic is far from over. Remdesivir has also received approval or emergency use authorization (EAU) in several other places, including Japan and the European Union.

Second, Gilead Sciences remains a strong player in the HIV treatment space. Despite COVID-19 related headwinds, sales from the company's HIV segment decreased by just 1% to $4 billion. One of its products, Biktarvy, has become "the gold standard in HIV treatment," according to CEO Daniel O'Day.

Third, Gilead Sciences has a rich pipeline and is currently running more than two dozen clinical trials. The company has been able to bolster its pipeline thanks to several acquisitions, and it will likely allow it to strengthen its lineup. This should have a positive impact on Gilead Sciences' financial results.

The company currently offers a dividend yield of 4.4% and a low cash-payout ratio of 39.2%. Gilead has grown its dividend by 58.1% in the past five years, and investors can look forward to more dividend increases down the road. 

Prosper Junior Bakiny has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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