High-yield dividend stocks don't always come with higher risk profiles. Many companies pay dependable dividends that yield well above average these days.
Three dividend stocks that currently stand out to our contributors for their combination of dependability and yield are Enterprise Products Partners (EPD 0.04%), Consolidated Edison (ED 0.80%), and TotalEnergies (TTE -2.68%). Here's why they think investors should scoop up shares right now.
Built to keep paying you
Reuben Gregg Brewer (Enterprise Products Partners): I could highlight Enterprise Products Partners' 23 consecutive years of distribution growth and easily proclaim that it is dependable. However, that doesn't do justice to the master limited partnership (MLP) and its generous 7.8% distribution yield. For example, in a recent investor presentation about how management intends to allocate capital, "support and grow cash distributions to partners" was No. 1 on the list.
How does Enterprise do that? Well, one example is that its financial debt-to-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) ratio of 3.9 times is well below the levels of its closest peers. In hard times, having extra room on the balance sheet provides valuable flexibility. Then there's the fact that Enterprise's third-quarter 2021 distribution was covered by its distributable cash flow by 1.7 times. That gives the giant midstream MLP ample room for adversity before the distribution would be at risk of a cut. These are the types of conservative decisions you would expect from an income stock that wants to pay a reliable distribution.
And while some might worry about the future of oil and natural gas midstream assets, given investors' focus on environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG) today, don't get too concerned. The energy transition that's taking shape is likely to take decades. In fact, Enterprise estimates that population growth and rising living standards will increase demand for oil out to 2040 even as the fuel's share of the energy pie shrinks. Natural gas, meanwhile, will see its share increase as it helps displace dirtier coal. In other words, it looks like Enterprise has years of big and reliable distribution payments ahead of it.
The definition of dependability
Matt DiLallo (Consolidated Edison): Consolidated Edison is a company dividend investors can count on to deliver a steadily growing income stream. It has increased its payout for 47 consecutive years, the longest streak for a utility in the S&P 500. That makes it a Dividend Aristocrat. It also puts it only three years away from the even more elite list of a Dividend King.
Aside from that dependability, two factors make Consolidated Edison stand out as an excellent buy for income-seekers right now. First, it trades at an attractive valuation. Shares are down about 6% over the past year, pushing its dividend yield up to over 4%. That makes it really stand out at a time when the average stock in the S&P 500 yields less than 1.3%. It also trades at the cheapest valuation in its peer group:
The other factor is its upside. The New York City-focused utility's earnings have felt some pandemic-related pressure. However, the city is starting to recover, which should boost its results in the coming quarters. Meanwhile, Consolidated Edison is investing heavily to improve the long-term sustainability of its operations, which should pay dividends in the years to come. It's investing heavily in green energy -- it's already the second-largest solar energy producer in North America -- and improving its operations' safety and reliability. These investments will grow its earnings, likely supporting continued dividend growth. That combination of yield and upside makes Consolidated Edison a great option for income-seeking investors to buy these days.
This 6.3% yield looks bankable
Neha Chamaria (TotalEnergies): Traditionally known to be among the world's largest oil and gas companies, TotalEnergies is branching out beyond oil and gas to become a multi-energy company and "a world-class player in the energy transition." With the world, indeed, transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy as more nations pledge to decarbonize, TotalEnergies is one of the most intriguing oil -- or energy -- stocks to own right now. Heck, it also offers one of the highest yields of 6.3% among oil and gas stocks.
By 2030, TotalEnergies expects oil and oil products to contribute only 30% to total sales. Nearly half of its sales is expected to come from gas, including biogas, hydrogen, domestic and pipe gas, and liquefied natural gas. It will also scale up its electricity business, which could contribute as much as 15% to sales by the end of the decade.
In just the recent weeks, Total Energies has entered into multiple partnerships and collaborations that reflect its aggressiveness toward clean energy. Examples include offshore wind development in Norway, building a hydrogen ecosystem for transportation in Europe, and installing high-power electric vehicle charge points at more than 150 of its service stations.
Between 2021 and 2025, nearly 25% of TotalEnergies' total investments should go into its renewables and electricity business. That could mean almost $15 billion worth of spending, which is expected to contribute substantially to the company's cash flow growth and support dividend growth. With management prioritizing spending on projects in line with its clean energy goals and increasing dividends alongside cash flows while maintaining a strong balance sheet, TotalEnergies is a compelling high-yield stock to buy at current prices for the long haul.