As investors today contemplate the sharp declines in their portfolios amid this broad market downturn, more and more of them are turning to dividend stocks to provide them with a measure of security.
Also, keep in mind that these conditions do provide the opportunity to pick up some good dividend stocks at cheap valuations. If you're looking to do that, the key is to make sure that the ones you buy have solid underlying businesses, and that they can be expected to sustain their payouts even during down markets and economic turmoil. Here are a couple of good options.
1. JPMorgan Chase
When conditions are uncertain on Wall Street, there is typically a flight to quality to large, stable, sector-leading companies that have successfully navigated previous corrections and bear markets. That description fits JPMorgan Chase (JPM -1.74%) to a T.
JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the U.S. with about $3 trillion in assets under management, and it has consistently outperformed its peers over the past decade. Its focus on its "fortress" balance sheet keeps liquidity high and debt low, which allows it to navigate downturns and continue to support its dividend.
It has $1.7 trillion in liquidity sources and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80, which means its assets are funded mostly by equity as opposed to debt.
"Our long-standing capital hierarchy remains the same -- first and foremost, to invest in and grow our market-leading businesses; second, to pay a sustainable competitive dividend; and then, to return any remaining excess capital to shareholders through stock buybacks," CEO Jamie Dimon said in the first-quarter earnings report released on April 13.
JPMorgan Chase has seen its valuation drop with its forward price-to-earnings ratio falling to its current level of 10.5 from 15 at the start of 2022, and its stock price is down 26.8% year to date. However, it raised its fourth-quarter 2021 payout by 11% to $1 per share, and it has maintained that for the two payouts since then. At the current share price, it offers a high yield of 3.4%, with a payout ratio of about 29% -- which means 29% of earnings go to financing the dividend. That's a very sustainable percentage and should allow JPMorgan Chase to continue to boost its distributions. This will be the 10th straight year that JPMorgan Chase has increased its annual dividend payout, and that streak will likely continue.
2. PNC Financial Services Group
The banking industry should benefit from rising interest rates, as long as inflation is brought back under control and the country doesn't fall into a recession. Those are big "ifs" -- but bull markets in the U.S. have historically lasted longer than bear markets, and over the long term, the stock market has averaged an annualized total return of about 10%.
The bank with perhaps the best dividend right now is PNC Financial Services Group (PNC -0.05%) -- the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. In Q2, it raised its quarterly dividend by 20% to $1.50 per share. At its current share price, that gives it a yield of 3.35% -- one of the highest among its peers. It has a payout ratio of roughly 37%, which is in a comfortable range where it has been for the past decade. A model of consistency, it has raised its payout annually for the past 12 years.
The stock price for PNC Financial is down 22% year to date, but it has a low valuation with a current forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11 -- down from 15 at the start of 2022.
Rising interest rates should provide a nice revenue boost for PNC, and Wall Street analysts have a median 1-year price target of $210 on the stock, about 34% higher than its current price.
Like JPMorgan Chase, PNC has a fortress-like balance sheet with a super low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35% and $56 billion in cash on hand. Both of these banks pay high yields and have good financials, great track records, and sustainable dividends.