Passive income is becoming increasingly desirable in the present economy. The Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation, in addition to global economic impacts linked to the war in Ukraine, have sent stocks into a downward spiral. Since the onset of 2022, the S&P 500 has shed 19% of its value, and the more speculative Nasdaq Composite has plunged 26%.
Not every company is hurting, however. Fresh headwinds have sparked a transition away from high-growth technology stocks and into high-dividend value-oriented companies. Warren Buffett is a celebrated value investor who tends to buy shares of companies that generate stacks of cash and award their investors with hefty dividend payments. These types of businesses often thrive in a sagging economy, as investors are able to comfortably rely on the passive income they provide on a quarterly basis.
Let us look at one Warren Buffett stock that investors can lean on for passive income moving forward.
All is good for Verizon right now
Verizon Communications (VZ -0.90%), which is down just 1.8% year to date, posted an in-line first-quarter earnings report to begin 2022. The company generated $33.6 billion in sales, up 2.1% year over year, and its diluted earnings per share of $1.09 slumped 14.2% from a year ago. Its operating margin fell 47 basis points to finish at 23.2% versus 23.7% in the same quarter a year ago.
For the full year, Wall Street analysts expect the company's top and bottom lines to increase 2.4% and 0.6% to $136.9 billion and $5.42 per share, respectively. Although Verizon operates a steady business, it's clear that its growth rates are not the company's strong suit. Rather, investors should turn to its robust cash flow generation and favorable dividend yield. Over the past 12 months, the telecommunications juggernaut produced $15.1 billion in free cash flow (FCF).
Its steadfast cash generation has enabled the company to grant investors a $0.64-per-share quarterly dividend payment, which translates into a 5% dividend yield. At existing price levels, a $5,000 investment would yield roughly 99 shares, which in turn would lead to $253 in annual dividend payments, assuming a constant dividend.
Let's say you invest that $253 into an index fund that tracks the S&P 500 -- which has provided a historic annualized average return of 10.5% since its inception in 1957 -- at the end of each year. After 30 years, assuming a constant dividend amount, constant average annualized return of 10.5%, and annual compounding, you'll be left with north of $45,000. And that doesn't even take into account Verizon's consistent history of increasing dividends. That's the power of what a lucrative dividend can do for patient investors over an extended period of time.
Is it time to buy shares?
Verizon investors can sleep well at night thanks to the company's healthy business and moneymaking dividend, which has increased for the last 18 years. Outperforming the S&P 500 year to date, I am optimistic about its ability to sustain its status as a market-beater in the coming trading sessions. Plus, the company is the leading carrier in the U.S. mobile market with a 31% share, so this is a business that is uniquely positioned for long-term success. If you're concerned about the economy's future, then Verizon may be the stock for you today.