A relatively safe way to invest in the stock market is to focus on dividend stocks with strong track records that offer above-average yields. And by narrowing in on stocks that also trade at cheap valuations, you can put yourself in a great position to benefit from both recurring dividend income and capital gains in the future.
1. CVS Health
At a market cap of around $124 billion, CVS is one of the largest healthcare stocks in the world. Not only does it have a popular retail pharmacy business, but CVS also owns health insurer Aetna. It makes for a low-volatility investment that generally doesn't move as wildly as the overall stock market.
Year to date, its shares are down 9%, which is not as steep as the S&P 500's decline of 20%. Meanwhile, the business has been generating modest-but-steady growth in recent quarters:
With demand for COVID testing and vaccines having slowed down, CVS hasn't benefited from that traffic; yet, its revenue for through the first three months of 2022 still rose by an impressive 11.2% $76.8 billion.
CVS trades at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of 11, which is cheap when you consider that the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund averages a multiple of nearly 16. For a top healthcare stock like CVS, investors are getting plenty of value for their money.
Then there's the dividend, which yields 2.3% -- better than the S&P 500 average of 1.7%. And over the past 10 years, the company has increased its quarterly dividend payments from $0.1625 in 2012 to $0.55 today. That's an increase of 238% and equates to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%.
Overall, CVS is a cheap stock to invest in today if you just want some stable dividend income that's also likely to rise over the years.
2. Verizon Communications
If you're looking for a higher-yielding stock, then Verizon may be a stock worth considering. At 5.1%, it'll pay you more than double what CVS does. The telecom giant has also been steadily growing its payouts as well, albeit at a much slower rate. Its quarterly dividend of $0.64 today is only 28% higher than what it was paying in early 2012 ($0.50). That averages out to a CAGR of just 2.5%.
What is appealing about Verizon as a dividend stock beyond just its yield is that it provides essential services to the millions of customers it serves. As of the end of last year, the wireless provider reported 142.8 million retail connections. But despite its size, the company typically doesn't generate a whole lot of growth; sales over the past four years have been within a range of $128 billion and $134 billion. For dividend investors, that consistency can be good as there isn't significant volatility in Verizon's business.
While there isn't much in the way of growth, Verizon's stock does provide investors with some great value; the stock currently trades at its incredibly cheap forward P/E of nine. That's much lower than some of its key rivals:
With Verizon, dividend investors are getting a top stock that pays a high yield, and that doesn't come at a premium. It has also made for a relatively stable buy this year as its shares have declined a modest 3% thus far.