John D. Rockefeller once said, "Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It's to see my dividends coming in." But not all dividends are created equal. High-yielding dividend stocks may not always be a safe investment, as an unusually high yield might signal a company in trouble or an impending dividend cut. 

Still, there are a few safe and attractive high-yield dividend stocks in today's market, two of them being AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). These stocks are capable of returning significant income to shareholders while offering reliable payouts, so you don't have to worry about whether you'll receive a check every quarter. 

Here's why you might consider picking these high-quality, high-yield dividend stocks to add to your portfolio.

Women putting extra money in her piggy bank

Image source: Getty Images.


1. AbbVie

AbbVie arrived on the scene back in 2013 after being spun off from Abbott Laboratories. The company brought in lots of profits very early, mainly from its blockbuster immunosuppressant, Humira. Humira did more than $19 billion in 2020 revenue and was able to bring in $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2021. But all good things come to an end, and so is Humira's patent protection; it has already gone off-patent in Europe and, just recently, Canada. Humira will lose patent protection here in the U.S in 2023, and given the drug's superstar status, investors might be concerned about whether AbbVie can sustain revenues and if the dividend is safe. 

The short answer is yes. Beyond Humira, AbbVie has a whole host of products in its portfolio that will keep revenue steady: Skyrizi (for plaque psoriasis), Rinvoq (for rheumatoid arthritis), Imbruvica (for lymphoma), and Venclexta (for leukemia). The company sees lots of potential in Skyrizi and Rinvoq, whose 2020 sales were up by 91% and 600%, respectively, from the year before. Imbruvica and Venclexta sales rose by 9.8% and 46%, respectively, as well. CEO Rick Gonzalez informed investors during the fourth-quarter conference call that revenue from both Skyrizi and Rinvoq should double in 2021, saying that by 2025, they expect the drugs to pull in a combined $15 billion in annual revenue. Imbruvica and Venclexta are expected to bring in $5.7 billion and $1.8 billion in 2021, respectively, with management expecting future growth in the double digits, driven by more illnesses that these drugs will be able to treat.

Skyrizi and Rinvoq combined to bring in about $2.3 billion in sales for 2020, only 14% of the $16 billion Humira notched for the year. Imbruvica and Venxeleta were able to bring in $5.1 billion for the year, meaning that these four drugs combined were able to make 46% of Humira's 2020 revenue. Given management's predictions, that number could increase to $22 billion by 2025. This will more than make up for the $16 billion Humira brought in during 2020, helping the company financially as one of the best-selling drugs in history goes off-patent.  

With a plan in place to cover the revenue gap that is going to be left by Humira, AbbVie's dividend should look a lot safer to investors. AbbVie currently offers a 4.6% yield, which has been growing at a spectacular rate. Over the past five years, AbbVie's dividend is up 18.09%, tremendously outperforming the 5.84% seen by the sector overall. Even though it's only been around for eight years, AbbVie is a Dividend Aristocrat -- its time as part of Abbott Labs counts toward its consistently increasing payouts for more than 25 years. Investors interested in a fantastically high yield and a long and reliable history of dividend payments should consider a place for AbbVie in their portfolio.  

2. Pfizer

While much older than AbbVie, Pfizer has not lost its step. The 172-year-old business is hard at work, most recently completing a successful COVID-19 vaccine as a joint venture with German partner BioNTech

The company has been thriving financially, as sales from the vaccine and its key drugs are both doing well. Just in the first quarter of 2021, Pfizer made $3.46 billion from its COVID-19 vaccine. In the Q1 earnings report, management noted that revenues from the COVID-19 vaccine could be about $26 billion for the entire 2021 fiscal year.

As mentioned, the vaccine isn't the only bright spot for Pfizer; growth from its key drugs is very encouraging, too. Certain of those -- including Eliquis (an anticoagulant), Vyndamax (for heart issues) , and Xeljanz (for rheumatoid arthritis) -- saw sales rise by 25%, 88%, and 18% year-over-year respectively in Q1. These three drugs combined brought in more than $2.5 billion for Pfizer in just the first quarter. The company expects to make $70 billion in 2021, a 73% increase from the $41 billion brought in during 2020.

Despite all the success Pfizer has experienced over the past few months, the stock remains one of the better deals for investors looking for income in this market. Currently offering a 4% dividend yield, the company recently gave investors a small raise for 2021, lifting its dividend by 3% in December 2020. Pfizer is currently paying out 42% of its earnings. This is a safe payout ratio, offering investors reliable dividend payments as well as a high yield. With the U.S Treasury offering 1.56% to invest in 10-year treasury bonds, Pfizer's yield of 4% is more than double that, making the stock attractive for investors looking to investments to provide more current income. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.