The S&P 500 Index is yielding a paltry 1.4% right now, which makes beverage giant Coca-Cola's (KO 2.34%) 3.1% yield look huge by comparison. But on an absolute basis, Coca-Cola's dividend yield is still pretty modest.
You can find better yields. Here are three options to consider right now.
1. A diversified landlord
W.P. Carey (WPC 0.61%) is one of the oldest net-lease landlords you can buy. "Net-lease" means W.P. Carey owns properties that it leases to single tenants, where the tenants are responsible for most of the operating expenses of the assets they occupy. It is generally considered a low-risk approach in the real estate investment trust (REIT) sector. Adding to the safety factor here, W.P. Carey is diversified across the industrial (25% of rents), office (23%), warehouse (22%), retail (18%), and self storage (5%) sectors, with a sizable "other" category rounding things out. Moreover, roughly 39% of its rents come from outside the United States, largely from Europe.
This solid core supported dividend increases in each and every quarter of 2020, a year in which many REITs ended up cutting dividends. Longer-term, W.P. Carey has increased its dividend each and every year since its IPO in 1998. Having already increased its dividend again in the first quarter of 2021, it is on the cusp of reaching Dividend Aristocrat status, with 25 consecutive years of annual hikes. And the best part is that it offers a generous dividend yield of 5.7%.
2. Reliable pipes
Enbridge (ENB 0.95%), which hails from Canada, is one of North America's largest midstream companies. Its system of pipes carry oil (54% of EBITDA) and natural gas (29%), complemented by a natural gas utility business (14%) and a growing renewable power operation (3%). It is the largest player in oil pipelines (by miles of pipe), and number two in natural gas, with a system that spans from Canada to Mexico. These carbon-based fuels are facing clean energy headwinds, but the transition to a low-carbon economy will likely take a long time. Moreover, Enbridge's natural gas exposure should be a net benefit, as this fuel will help the transition process. And the clean energy business has ample room to grow over time as well.
On the dividend front, Enbridge's yield is a meaty 7.1%. The payment has been increased every year for 26 consecutive years, including in 2020 and again in 2021. The pipeline giant targets a distributable cash flow payout ratio of between 60% and 70%, which provides an ample buffer against adversity. Meanwhile, the company believes it can grow distributable cash flow between 5% and 7% a year over the longer term, with dividends expected to grow by a similar amount.
3. Slow and boring
Consolidated Edison (ED 2.25%) is a utility that operates in and around New York City. It provides electricity, natural gas, and steam. It is actually a pretty boring company with a highly regulated business, but there are two things that are at least a little interesting: First, the Big Apple has historically been a vibrant market because it is a major business hub. Second, Con Ed is largely paid for the use of its transmission assets, not for the electricity and gas that travel across them. So it has some protection from the changing shape of the power market, with growth likely to come from spending on the strength and reliability of its assets.
Con Ed recently announced a 4% dividend hike, which brings its annual streak of dividend increases to an impressive 47 years. That's just three years shy of Dividend King status. The yield is roughly 4% today. Although the yield and dividend growth rate here probably won't excite you very much, the regulated nature of the business helps to insulate the company from the gyrations on Wall Street. Thus, Con Ed can provide some valuable diversification to your portfolio along with a fairly generous yield.
Plenty of options
None of the companies here are just like Coca-Cola, but that's not the point of the list. The goal here is to provide you with yields that are higher than 3.1%, and W.P. Carey and Enbridge easily achieve that. And both have diversified and strong businesses.
Consolidated Edison's yield is higher than Coca-Cola's, but not to the same degree. However, the utility's stable business is the kind that can be relied on to keep paying, and growing the dividend, even when times are tough. If you take the time to dig in here, one or more of this high-yield trio could end up in your portfolio today.