Most income-seeking investors don't mind paying up a little to get a stock that provides a solid dividend. But with the stock market at an all-time high, that paying up a little has become paying up a lot with many stocks.
Fortunately, that's not always the case. There are still some stocks that don't have sky-high valuations and offer attractive dividends. Here are two cheap dividend stocks you can buy right now.
1. Bank of America
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) shares currently trade at less than 14 times expected earnings. That's way under the S&P 500's average forward price-to-earnings multiple of close to 22. Bank of America also offers a dividend that yields north of 2.5%.
To be sure, most bank stocks are relatively cheap right now for several reasons. The U.S. remains in an economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment levels are still very high. At the same time, interest rates are near all-time lows. The combination of these factors creates a very challenging environment for banks.
So why buy Bank of America? For one thing, today's headwinds won't last forever. Actually, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan indicated in October that the worst appears to be over for the company. He noted that its customers spent more in September and October than they did in the same period in 2019.
The first Americans are already receiving coronavirus vaccines. With a second COVID-19 vaccine ready to be distributed across the country, we could be seeing the beginning of the end for the pandemic. This could set the stage for a significant economic rebound, which would likely lead to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Both would be great news for Bank of America.
Bank of America arguably is the best positioned among its peers to bounce back strongly. It has especially taken the lead in launching mobile and online apps. This technological innovation has helped the company become more efficient and more profitable. When the macroeconomic environment improves, look for Bank of America to once again deliver solid growth.
2. Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) is even more of a bargain than Bank of America. The big drugmaker's shares trade at only 8 times expected earnings. BMS should be quite attractive to income-seeking investors with its dividend yield of around 3.1%.
The pharmaceutical company also has another thing in common with Bank of America in addition to its appealing valuation and dividend: It's now a Warren Buffett stock. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has long held a big position in Bank of America. It also recently loaded up on several pharma stocks, including Bristol Myers Squibb.
BMS might be priced at a steep discount because some investors worry about a potential drop-off in sales for Revlimid. BMS picked up the blood cancer drug with its acquisition of Celgene last year. Revlimid faces generic competition beginning in 2022. In the third quarter of this year, the drug accounted for nearly 29% of BMS' total revenue.
However, the generic rivals to Revlimid can only be solid in limited volumes at first. That should give BMS more time for its newer drugs and late-stage pipeline candidates to pick up momentum. The company thinks that several of these products could become blockbusters with $1 billion and perhaps a lot more in annual sales.
BMS also already claims several drugs in its lineup that are blockbusters with strong sales growth. Blood thinner Eliquis, autoimmune disease drug Orencia, and blood cancer drug Pomalyst/Imnovid stand atop that list. The company's cancer immunotherapy Opdivo hasn't delivered tremendous growth in recent quarters, but additional approved indications could change the story going forward.
One other plus
There's one other plus for Bank of America and Bristol Myers Squibb that investors should really like: Both companies have great track records of increasing their dividends. Over the last three years, Bank of America has boosted its dividend payout by an impressive 50%. BMS hiked its dividend by nearly 23% during the same period.
With their solid growth prospects, Bank of America and BMS should be in great shape to continue increasing their dividends in the future. But while their dividends could become even more attractive, don't count on these stocks remaining this cheap for too much longer.