Choosing between dividend stocks and growth stocks can be difficult. While the former might offer you some sort of stable recurring income, the latter gives you the potential to benefit from long-term gains -- and usually, is a riskier investment. But there are some stocks that can give you the best of both worlds, offering you a mix of both dividend income and growth potential.
Twostocks that fall into that category are Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR -1.09%) and Microsoft (MSFT 0.13%). Both investments are capable of generating consistent dividend income over the years while giving you the opportunity to benefit from growth in the cannabis and technology sectors, respectively.
1. Innovative Industrial Properties
Real estate investment trust (REIT) Innovative Industrial Properties pays investors a yield of 2.3% -- well above the S&P 500 average of 1.3%. As the cannabis company has grown over the years, its dividend has come along for the ride; since REITs need to pay out 90% of their earnings back to shareholders, as long as profits increase, investors know that so too will their payouts.
The REIT's quarterly dividend payment of $1.40 is more than double the $0.60 that the company was paying just two years earlier. While you may initially be scared off by its payout ratio of more than 100%, REITs rely on funds from operations (FFO) to evaluate their performance and dividend-paying abilities (as opposed to accounting income, which includes non-cash expenses). And although its diluted earnings per share of $1.17 for the period ending June 30 was below its quarterly payout, the company's diluted FFO of $1.56 was well above it. Revenue of $48.9 million for the period doubled from a year ago while net income soared by 124%.
And as good as those numbers look, they can get even better in the future. The cannabis industry's continued growth has opened up more opportunities for Innovative Industrial Properties as more states permit recreational or medicinal use marijuana and more growers are looking for space to lease -- often through sale-and-leaseback agreements that allow them to raise money to fund their growth.
As of the end of the company's most recent quarter, Innovative Industrial Properties had 73 properties spread across 18 states -- up from 61 properties in 16 states a year earlier. Two markets to watch closely are New York and New Jersey, which today account for just 4.2% and 2.9% of the REIT's portfolio, respectively. Those states passed legislation this year permitting recreational marijuana, and I wouldn't be surprised if those percentages rose significantly in the next year or two as companies jockey for market share in those regions.
In the past year, shares of this pot stock have soared 93%, well ahead of the S&P 500's returns of 29%. And with the marijuana industry still not legal in every or state or at the federal level, it's not too late to profit from this company's explosive growth -- which is still in its early stages. The growing dividend income serves both as a bonus and an incentive for investors to remain patient and just buy and hold.
Microsoft's dividend yield of around 0.8% isn't terribly high and is well below average. However, with a payout ratio of only 27%, the tech giant certainly has the room to increase its dividend in the future. The company increased its payouts by 10% last year, from $0.51 to $0.56. The quarterly payment has doubled from 2013 when Microsoft was paying shareholders $0.23.
There's little doubt the payout will continue rising as the company continues to deliver impressive numbers. On July 27, Microsoft reported net income of $16.5 billion for the period ending June 30, which grew 47% year over year. Sales of $46.2 billion were also up by 21%. The strength of Microsoft's business is its diversity. While sales from its Surface laptops was down 20% year over year, the company had several high-growth areas. Its LinkedIn marketing solutions segment generated revenue growth of 97% from the prior-year period. And Microsoft's cloud computing service, Azure, grew sales at a rate of 51%.
The company's Office 365 commercial software grew at a more modest rate of 25% (and as low as 18% for its Office consumer products and services). But that could get a boost in the near future as Microsoft recently announced price hikes for the commercial software (most monthly increases are in the range of $2 to $3 per user) -- "the first substantive pricing update" since it launched the office suite 10 years ago.
Microsoft has no shortage of ways to grow its business. Whether it is gaming, cloud-based software and services, or its flagship Office software, investors won't have to worry about its opportunities drying up anytime soon. And as those profits roll in, the dividend increases could become more generous in future years. Microsoft is a stock that any investor can justify putting in their portfolio, whether it's for dividend income or the sheer growth potential the investment offers. Over the past 12 months, shares of Microsoft are up by more than 32%.