Patient investors tend to do better in the stock market as the S&P 500 has risen almost 270% over the past decade. Last week the broad market index hit new record highs four out of the five trading days and it has achieved 50 new highs in 2021. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dozens of new records to its credit as well. Yet even as the market soars to new heights, there are bargains still available if you're a long-term investor.
Recently the Hartford Funds released a report showing the S&P 500, with dividends, contributed 41% to the total return of the index over a 90-year period. Since 1970, dividends represented an astounding 84% of the index's total return. Buying these top tech stocks will have you giving thanks now for the dividends they currently pay and in the future, for the capital appreciation your portfolio will enjoy.
1. Verizon Communications: 4.7% yield
The reason investors should be interested in Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and the biggest catalyst for the telecom giant itself -- is the rollout of 5G wireless infrastructure. It's not a one-and-done situation, but rather a rolling, multi-year upgrade cycle that provides Verizon with a unique opportunity to boost organic wireless growth sustainably.
There's a virtuous circle for investors here. Because Verizon is no longer one of those hot-growth stocks, it needs levers to pull to reliably boost its business over time. It's getting that in the form of the upgrade cycle that will drive greater data consumption.
Wireless telecom companies like Verizon generate some of their best profit margins from data consumption, meaning the costs it is incurring now to upgrade its infrastructure will pay off for years to come. Although there isn't significant growth, the company continues to rake in revenue. Verizon's consumer wireless revenue of $14 billion in the third quarter was up 4% from last year while the broadband business, its consumer FiOS service, also rose 4% year over year to $2.9 billion.
Moreover, the in-home broadband provides consistent cash flow and gives Verizon the opportunity to bundle with its services that also feature high margins. Notably, its 5G Home internet service is available in 57 cities while its fixed wireless access is available in 48 states. It plans to be in 30 million homes by 2023 and 50 million by 2025.
Verizon paid out of $10.2 billion in dividends in 2020, which it can easily support as its free cash flow payout ratio is about 45% over the first nine months of its current fiscal year. The telecom company just raised its quarterly payout 2% to $0.64 per share, the 15th consecutive year Verizon has raised its dividend. Yielding 4.7% annually, the telecom leader is a top tech stock to buy in November and expect reliable returns from for years to come.
2. Apple: 0.6% yield
At the other end of the spectrum, there's Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), a high-growth, low-yield tech stock that's well worth the time. Although the 0.6% would not normally be a lure for income-seeking investors, it's more a result of the capital appreciation the stock has enjoyed over the years.
Since initiating its shareholder payout in 2012, Apple's stock has surged 592% compared to a 226% return for the S&P 500. The dividend itself has grown by more than 130% over that near-10-year time span. What may be a surprise to investors is that for Apple's fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the tech behemoth paid out $14.5 billion in dividends, or 40% more than the telecom stalwart.
It may be that familiarity breeds contempt, because Wall Street always writes off Apple as having reached its peak, particularly with the iPhone. But the Cupertino tech stock always manages to one-up the Street. Right now, it is benefiting from an upgrade cycle of its own and Bloomberg recently said Apple might sell 10 million fewer iPhone 13s than predicted. However, it's a function of the chip shortage and supply chain disruptions not allowing for clarity in forecasting.
But what might be the biggest benefit for Apple and its investors is the transformation of the company into a services-oriented business. While product revenue grew 37% to $227 billion this year, services revenue -- which includes the App Store, AppleCare, cloud services, Music, and Apple Pay -- was up an equally robust 27% to more than $68 billion and hit new records in the fourth quarter.
What tech investors might not realize from Apple's dividend, they make up for with stock price growth. November may be just the time to buy in before the next growth spurt.