When dividend stocks go on sale, investors should be ready to pounce. That's because as long as their payouts remain intact and look safe, a drop in share price means a chance to earn the same amount of dividend income with a smaller investment. And when the decline looks like it may be temporary, there's extra incentive to buy the stock on the prospects that the share price will rise again.
A couple of dividend stocks that have been struggling of late are Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Visa (NYSE:V). Both are down by more than 4% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has climbed by 6%. Here's why they are solid investments right now.
The case for Medtronic
At current share prices, this medical device company's dividend yields just over 2% -- a better payout than the S&P 500's average yield of 1.4%. And if you hang on for the long haul, you'll likely earn even more: Medtronic has raised its dividend payments annually for 44 years in a row. Although the company's payout ratio of nearly 90% may scare off some investors, that percentage should start to come down as demand rebounds for its devices amid the recovery.
Historically, this Dividend Aristocrat's underlying business has been sound. Over the past four quarters, the company has reported a profit margin of more than 12%, and in recent years it has been as high as 16%.
The one unattractive part of the business is that although it is consistent and reliable, it hasn't always delivered much growth. Since fiscal 2017, the company's top line has remained between $28 billion and $31 billion. That's solid consistency for income investors, but at a time when the market has been focused on growth, it could explain why Medtronic hasn't been a popular buy.
However, the stock is an underrated reopening play. As the company noted, during its fiscal 2022 first quarter (which ended July 30), there was a "strong recovery" in elective procedures and its sales jumped 23% year over year. If that trend continues -- and there's little doubt that it should -- Medtronic could reveal strong numbers when it releases its fiscal second-quarter results later this month. And it may not be long before the stock starts to rally.
The case for Visa
The payment processing powerhouse offers more growth potential than Medtronic, but its yield is a bit lower -- just 0.7% at current share prices. But there's a lot of value to be had in Visa for long-term investors.
Although it doesn't have a long dividend track record, Visa has been paying them since 2008 -- and regularly increasing them. In October, it announced a 17% boost to its quarterly dividend to $0.375 per share. That's more than double the $0.165 per share that the company was paying out to shareholders quarterly in 2017. Given the company's strong growth prospects, this is another example where a low yield can be less of a concern for buy-and-hold investors. Plus, with a payout ratio of around 23%, management has plenty of room to increase the dividend in the years to come.
Visa also makes for a strong recovery stock. It reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results in October; for the period ending Sept. 30, net revenue rocketed 29% year over year to $6.6 billion. Both service revenue and international transaction revenue rose by 41% from the same period last year. In Visa's fiscal 2019, its last pre-pandemic year, the top line grew by just 11%.
For dividend investors, this may be an opportune time to load up on Visa shares. Not only can you benefit from a potentially rising dividend, but the financial services giant could be one of the big winners of 2022 as the economy continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.