If you're an income investor, there are many dividend stocks available for you to choose from that can generate recurring cash flow for your portfolio. And while you don't want to take on too much risk by looking for high-yielding dividend stocks that pay 10% or more, you also shouldn't waste your time on stocks that pay less than the S&P 500 index average of about 2%.
Here are two stable, well-priced stocks paying more than 3% that you can buy today: Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). With terrific track records for paying and increasing dividend payments, they're some of the safest dividend stocks out there right now.
1. Cardinal Health
Medical distribution company Cardinal Health currently pays its shareholders a quarterly dividend of $0.4859. At a share price of around $48, that means it's yielding slightly above 4% per year. On a $25,000 investment, you'd be earning approximately $1,000 per year in dividend income. Not only that, but Cardinal Health's a Dividend Aristocrat and it's increased its dividend payments for more than 30 years in a row. The most recent pay hike came earlier this year, with Cardinal Health bumping up its quarterly dividend by 1%. The company's raised its dividend by a total of 25.6% from five years ago when its quarterly payments were $0.3870. That averages out to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%.
On top of its dividend, Cardinal Health's low price and stable business make it an excellent buy. On Aug. 6, the Ohio-based business released its fourth-quarter results for fiscal 2020 where, despite the impact of COVID-19, its sales of $36.7 billion for the period ending Jun. 30 were down a modest 2% year over year. Its pharmaceutical segment generated $33.2 billion in revenue, which was flat from a year ago, but its medical division's revenue of $3.5 billion fell by 13% from the prior-year period, largely a result of deferred or canceled procedures due to the pandemic. Despite this, Cardinal Health still posted a solid operating profit of $270 million -- which was down 12% year over year. However, this isn't unusual territory for Cardinal Health. Although it's recorded losses twice in the past 10 quarters (as a result of nonoperating items), it's posted an operating profit in each of those periods.
Cardinal Health's stability makes it an attractive buy-and-forget dividend stock you can potentially hold in your portfolio forever. Another reason to love the stock is that it's not an expensive buy, trading at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of less than nine. The average stock in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund trades at around 24 times its earnings.
Year to date, shares of Cardinal Health are down 5%, below the S&P 500's positive returns of 5%.
If you're looking for a consumer goods stock to invest in, Coca-Cola's stock might be a better option for you. The soft drink giant isn't just an Aristocrat --it's a Dividend King, raising its dividend payments for more than 50 years in a row. It's an impressive streak that isn't likely to end unless something seismic shakes the company and the industry it's in. Today, Coca-Cola pays its shareholders a quarterly dividend of $0.41, which yields 3.3%. If you invest $25,000 in Coca-Cola, you could expect to earn $825 in dividends each year.
The dividend is 2.5% higher than the $0.40 that Coca-Cola was paying out a year ago. Over five years, the Georgia-based company's hiked its dividend payments 24% from the $0.33 that it was paying back in 2015. That averages out to a CAGR of 4.4%, slightly lower than Cardinal Health's dividend growth rate.
On Oct. 22, Coca-Cola released its third-quarter results of fiscal 2020. Its sales for the period ending Sept. 25 felt more of an impact from COVID-19 than Cardinal Health's top line did. Revenue of $8.7 billion was down 9% year over year as its away-from-home channel, which includes sales from bars, restaurants, and stadium/arena events, struggled amid the pandemic. The segment makes up about half of its business, with the other half being its at-home channels. Coca-Cola still posted a strong operating profit of $2.3 billion, down 8% from the prior-year period. Coca-Cola is another stable business to invest in, consistently posting a profit in each of its last 10 quarterly results.
Trading at a forward P/E of 23, the stock's a bit more expensive than Cardinal Health, but the multiple's still around where it was a year ago. And that's slightly lower than the 25 times earnings the average stock in the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund trades at.
Year to date, shares of Coca-Cola are down more than 10%.
Which dividend stock is the better buy today?
Both stocks are underperforming the S&P 500, but those aren't trends that are likely to persist over the long term. If you're looking to maximize your dividend income, then Cardinal Health is the better stock to buy today. With a higher yield and a higher CAGR, it's likely going to generate more dividend income than Coca-Cola will, assuming that both companies continue raising their dividend payments at the same rates as they have in recent years. And with Cardinal Health being a cheaper buy, there's also more potential there for investors to benefit from capital gains.