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3 Dividend-Paying Tech Stocks to Buy Right Now

By Leo Sun – Updated Oct 12, 2021 at 9:45AM

Key Points

  • TI returns most of its free cash flow to investors via dividends and buybacks.
  • UMC’s margins are expanding as it focuses on lower-end chips, and it’s paying out at least half of its rising profits as dividends.
  • Corning exposes investors to several growing markets while paying out rising dividends for over a decade.

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Texas Instruments, UMC, and Corning could all cushion the blow of a market crash with their stable growth and reliable dividends.

Tech stocks often fall into two categories: those that are owned for growth, and those that are owned for stability and income.

The former usually outperform the latter during bull markets, but dividend-paying blue-chip tech stocks often shine when the market declines. Therefore, adding a few dividend-paying tech stocks to your portfolio might soften the blow of a market crash.

Let's take a look at three stocks that fit the bill: Texas Instruments (TXN -1.94%), United Microelectronics (UMC -2.25%), and Corning (GLW 0.15%).

1. Texas Instruments

Texas Instruments sells analog and embedded chips to a wide range of industries. Its chips are less capital-intensive to manufacture than higher-end chips, so they generate plenty of free cash flow (FCF).

A family saves up loose change in a piggy bank.

Image source: Getty Images.

TI's FCF has increased by an average of 12% annually from 2004 to 2020, and it's repeatedly committed to returning all of that cash to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. It reduced its share count by 46% between 2004 and 2020, and it's raised its dividend annually over the past 17 years.

TI spent 56% of its FCF on its dividends over the past 12 months, and it currently pays a forward yield of 2.4%. Investors who stuck with TI over the past 10 years and reinvested its dividends are now sitting on a total return of 745%, which crushes the S&P 500's total return of 350%.

TI's momentum will likely continue as it sells more chips for new vehicles, industrial machines, mobile devices, and networking infrastructure. TI is also fairly well insulated from the global chip shortage since it manufactures its own chips instead of outsourcing its production to third-party foundries.

Analysts expect TI's revenue and earnings to rise 24% and 36%, respectively, this year against easy comparisons to the pandemic. Its growth will likely decelerate next year, but its stock is still reasonably valued at 24 times forward earnings -- and it offers a solid balance of diversification, value, and income for long-term investors.

2. United Microelectronics

I recently highlighted United Microelectronics, TSMC's (TSM -1.02%) much smaller competitor in Taiwan's contract chipmaking market, as an undervalued growth stock. Unlike TSMC, UMC doesn't manufacture the world's smallest chips. Instead, UMC only accepts orders for older and larger chips, which are less capital-intensive to produce.

Three years ago, UMC stopped pursuing TSMC and Samsung into advanced chips beyond the 14nm node, and pivoted toward the lower-end automotive and Internet of Things markets instead. Analysts expect UMC's revenue to rise 18% this year, and for its net income to more than double as it focuses on expanding its margins and generating stronger FCF growth.

UMC's dividend yield fluctuates from year to year, but it aims to pay out more than 50% of its earnings as dividends. It paid out a trailing dividend yield of 2.6% over the past 12 months, and CFO Qi Dong Liu predicted the company would "distribute a stable and hopefully increasing cash dividend along with our improved EPS" during last quarter's conference call.

UMC's high dividend yield, along with low forward P/E ratio of 13, indicate its stock still has plenty of room to run after nearly doubling over the past 12 months. Investors who are looking for a cheaper alternative to TSMC -- which plans to significantly boost its capital expenditures over the next three years to maintain its lead against Intel (INTC -1.45%)-- should take a much closer look at UMC.

3. Corning

Corning manufactures the chemically hardened Gorilla Glass for consumer electronics, glass substrates for display panels, optical communications hardware, lab equipment for life science companies, and particulate filters for cars. The company's revenue and earnings both dipped last year as the pandemic disrupted its core end markets and their supply chains.

But this year, Corning's growth stabilized -- led by robust demand for Gorilla Glass on new 5G devices, strong sales of glass substrates for new TVs and monitors as more people stayed at home, optical upgrades at network operators, new life science contracts related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and sales of more particulate filters for environmentally-friendly vehicles.

As a result, analysts expect Corning's revenue and earnings to rise 23% and 53%, respectively, this year, before cooling off next year. Its stock trades at just 15 times forward earnings and it pays a forward yield of 2.6%. It spent just 49% of its FCF on its dividends over the past 12 months, and it's raised its payout every year since its first payment over a decade ago.

Corning isn't an exciting growth stock, but it provides a balanced way to invest in the long-term expansion of the mobile, optical, life science, and auto markets. Corning's end markets are cyclical, but its current growth cycle hasn't peaked yet -- and its dividends should continue rising for the foreseeable future.

Leo Sun has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Texas Instruments. The Motley Fool recommends Corning and Intel and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $57.50 calls on Intel and short January 2023 $57.50 puts on Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Corning Stock Quote
$34.18 (0.15%) $0.05
Texas Instruments Stock Quote
Texas Instruments
$176.96 (-1.94%) $-3.50
United Microelectronics Stock Quote
United Microelectronics
$7.37 (-2.25%) $0.17
Intel Stock Quote
$29.64 (-1.45%) $0.43
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Stock Quote
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
$82.13 (-1.02%) $0.85

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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