Just because the price of a stock has fallen doesn't inherently mean that name is worth owning. But, a good stock that lost some of its value is indeed a more compelling purchase by virtue of its price pullback.
With this as the backdrop, a couple of dividend-paying blue-chip stocks have been relatively poor performers of late, opening the door of opportunity to any income-minded investors willing to walk through it.
Verizon Communications (VZ -2.75%) is the United States' biggest wireless service provider, also offering broadband, cable TV, and landline service. These are ideal business lines as they tend to generate the free cash flow needed to support dividend payments.
Think about it. When's the last time you didn't pay your monthly bill to keep your internet connection turned on or keep your mobile phone connected? Consumers might skip a shopping trip or postpone a vacation. By and large, though, they pay their telecom bills, with the vast majority of them sticking with their current service provider from one month to the next. This recurring revenue stream ultimately drives recurring dividend payments, and Verizon hasn't failed to make a payment in any quarter since 1984, back when it was called Bell Atlantic. Add to that the fact that the company has raised its annual payout every single year since 2007. The company keeps marching toward attaining Dividend Aristocrat status (S&P 500 companies that have raised their dividend every year for at least 25 straight years). Because of that, it's a reasonably good bet the telecom giant will continue doing the same for as long as it possibly can.
This ever-rising dividend and the underlying resiliency of the company's cash flow aren't exactly impressing investors in the current economic environment. Although shares rebounded from the steep sell-off suffered early last year with the rest of the market, Verizon stock price peaked in December, failing to reach new highs then, and losing more than 10% of that peak value in the meantime. In fact, the stock's currently trading were it was as of late 2018.
Don't be discouraged by the performance, though. The stock's relative weakness translates into a nice dividend yield of nearly 4.7%, which you're not going to find with too many other blue chips right now.
2. Franklin Resources
The other cheap dividend stock you may want to step into sooner rather than later is Franklin Resources (BEN -1.23%). The name may not ring a bell, but you may be more familiar with the company than you realize. Franklin Resources is the name behind Franklin Templeton funds, boasting more than $1.5 trillion worth of assets currently under its management.
Like Verizon, the fund management business model is one well suited for driving dividends. Fund companies carve out a tiny piece of their total asset base every quarter in management fees regardless of those funds' performances. Obviously, fund managers don't want to underperform other funds, as investors can and do switch to better-performing funds. Barring disastrous results though, asset managers have a reasonably good idea of what sort of revenue is in the pipeline.
Unlike Verizon, however, mutual fund management fees are subject to the stock market's ebbs and flows. A 10% sell-off from the broad market, for example, translates into a 10% reduction in the size of the asset base that determines the amount of fee-based revenue fund companies are able to collect. Operating costs like marketing spending can also vary widely from one quarter to the next in the fund-management arena. For this reason, income investors on a fixed budget shouldn't necessarily count on consistent income from one quarter to the next with their investments in asset managers.
When you're talking about a mutual fund outfit the size and caliber of Franklin Resources, though, you actually can somewhat count on consistent payouts. Indeed, not only has the company made a dividend payment every quarter for decades now, it's upped its annual payout every year since 1981. It's not likely to abandon its Dividend Aristocrat status now.
The stock's not been an especially hot performer of late, sliding nearly 20% from June's high to July's low. While share prices have partially recovered in the meantime, they still sit more than 10% below June's peak. Priced around nine times next year's projected per-share earnings -- and with a dividend yield at a healthy 3.5% -- the potential reward greatly outweighs the current risk here.