Soft-drink and bottled-water specialist Coca-Cola is a popular stock for dividend investors, and for good reason. Coke offers a generous 3.4% dividend yield today alongside a 58-year streak of annual payout increases and a strong commitment to a lucrative and sustainable dividend policy for the long run.
As great as Coca-Cola's dividend payouts may be, many stocks on the market today offer even beefier yields, backed by equally impressive cash flows and thoughtful long-term management. Here's why you should consider supplementing your dividend-based Coke investment with new positions in International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), and Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO).
A Big Blue discount
Technology-giant IBM joined the exclusive club of Dividend Aristocrats six months ago, which means that the company has increased its payout without fail for at least 25 straight years. The boost was largely symbolic, pushing the quarterly payment up from $1.62 to $1.63 per share, and you shouldn't expect any grandiose payout boosts in the next couple of years. IBM is paying down a long-term debt load of $66 billion these days, mostly related to the game-changing $37 billion buyout of open-source software veteran Red Hat.
That acquisition has become the linchpin of IBM's business strategy, inspiring a drastic strategy shift that will involve spinning off legacy businesses such as business consulting services and most of Big Blue's remaining hardware operations. This moment in time is an important crossroads for IBM and its shareholders.
Many investors approach IBM with more skepticism than excitement today, but I'm the other way around. Big Blue shares can be found in Wall Street's bargain bin, trading at just 12 times trailing earnings with a 6.1% dividend yield. You can buy the whole package today and decide later on how to handle the upcoming spinoff.
Another tech giant in the bargain bin
Networking equipment and services giant Cisco Systems is a much later addition to the income investment pool, but it's a strong one. Cisco paid its first dividend in the spring of 2011 and has increased the payout once a year ever since:
The company generated a whopping $14.6 billion of free cash flow over the last four quarters and returned 59% directly to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks. Cisco is both willing and able to maintain its dividend payout at a generous level, and the company has plenty of headroom for further increases over the next several years -- even if the cash machine starts to slow down.
This is also a solid value play, trading at less than 14 times trailing earnings and 30% below February's multiyear highs. The dividend yield stands at a solid 4% today. If you believe that the digital-networking industry will thrive in the long run, you should pick up some shares in Cisco, a proven leader in that important sector.
Pick two: Growth and income
Broadcom designs semiconductors used in smartphones, networking equipment, storage systems, and other devices that transfer or store data. If that sounds like a growing business to you, you're absolutely right. Broadcom's annual sales have more than tripled over the last five years, driving free cash flows to a 522% increase.
This dividend policy started in 2010 and has been growing steadily since then. Today, Broadcom represents a direct play on the explosive 5G wireless market and a broader bet on connectivity and communications everywhere, tied to an efficient cash machine and a 3.7% dividend yield. That's another sustainable income stock that I would pick over Coca-Cola right now.