Finding worthwhile dividend-paying technology stocks used to be much more challenging, but it's become easier as segments of the industry have matured. Now, the tech sector plays host to a wide spectrum of dividend stocks, from high yielders to fledgling dividend-growth plays.
Whether you prioritize yield, payout growth, or a mixture of the two, the right dividend stocks can help fortify and power gains for your portfolio. With that in mind, these three technology companies look like excellent choices for income investors to buy this month.
The telecommunications industry has long been a popular choice for investors seeking sizable dividends, and some companies in it could also enjoy relatively strong sales and earnings growth in coming years. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) boasts the top-rated and most-used wireless network in the U.S., and its stock looks attractively valued, trading at roughly 11 times this year's expected earnings. It also sports a dividend that at current share prices yields 4.4%.
Intense competition in the wireless space has sapped the pricing power from mobile carriers, but the top players could experience more favorable growth conditions thanks to the 5G upgrade cycle. The next-generation network technology is not only ushering in dramatically faster download and upload speeds. The ongoing rollout of 5G networks also will likely pave the way for revolutionary new technology applications, and Verizon should have opportunities to add new connections at both the consumer and enterprise levels.
Mobile internet connectivity is becoming even more central to daily life, and it's likely that this trend will continue. With new applications and hardware depending on high-quality wireless internet connections, and with Verizon's customer base repeatedly reporting high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive, demand for its mobile wireless services should remain relatively resilient even in the event of economic volatility.
Lumen Technologies (NYSE:LUMN) is another telecom company that pays a substantial dividend. However, its path to growth over the next five years and beyond is a bit less clear.
Known as CenturyLink prior to its name change last year, Lumen is in the midst of a transformation, moving away from a reliance on its legacy DSL internet service in favor of pursuing growth opportunities in high-speed fiber service, edge computing, and enterprise software platform services. Its revenue has declined over the last several years, and it's not clear whether its pivot will prove successful over the long term.
Lumen also has a lot of debt on its books. The stock's hefty 6.9% yield comes with some risk, but the business is posting consistent profits, and shares could enjoy significant upside if the company's growth initiatives show signs of progress.
The company did slash its dividend in 2019 due to falling revenues and the need to pay down debt, but it's currently generating more than enough free cash flow to cover its payout while also funding its growth bets and continuing to reduce its debt load. With shares trading at less than 9 times 2021's expected earnings and offering a high yield, Lumen Technologies is non-prohibitively valued for investors who aren't averse to turnaround plays.
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) paid its first dividend last year, and its current yield of roughly 0.5% might look paltry. However, the stock offers an attractive combination of capital appreciation potential and payout growth potential. As such, it could be a good fit for investors looking to benefit from the growing demand for interactive entertainment.
The video game industry is still hit driven, but most leading publishers have benefited from an expanding addressable market and are now consistently profitable. EA looks non-prohibitively valued, trading at roughly 22.5 times this year's expected earnings, and its dividend payout ratio is low -- roughly 11% of free cash flow over the trailing 12-month period.
Annual releases in the company's FIFA and Madden NFL franchises routinely rank as strong sellers, and original properties including Battlefield and Apex Legends also drive strong engagement. With a proven collection of development studios, decades of experience in sales and marketing, and some proven franchises to work with, Electronic Arts looks well positioned to continue benefiting from the growth of the global video game industry.
The low yield on the stock means that EA won't be a great fit for investors who prioritize large dividends in the near term, but it could wind up delivering impressive total returns for patient investors. With a solid assortment of resources and industry tailwinds at its back, the publisher may be able to deliver big earnings growth and significantly increase its annual distributions to shareholders.