Investors typically rate a dividend stock according to the size of its dividend relative to the stock price -- known as the dividend yield. The higher the yield, the better the dividend stock.
But it's actually not quite that simple. There are plenty of very high-yielding stocks I would say to run from because they're quite risky as investments. When a yield is extremely high, it almost always means there are underlying operational risks in the company, and all except the most risk-tolerant should stay away.
I'm going to recommend two stocks that offer a fairly high yield but are also low-risk, and investors can hold onto them for a long time and expect them to keep paying out a growing and reliable dividend: Coca-Cola (KO -0.89%) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB -1.52%). Let's dive in.
Coca-Cola is the classic dividend stock, and that's for a reason. It's a Dividend King, which means it's been paying and raising its dividend for 50 consecutive years or more -- in Coke's case, it has raised its dividend consecutively for 60 years. That makes it about as reliable as you can get.
The company is also your classic cash cow because it brings in tons of revenue and has tons of cash on hand at any given time. The payout ratio is typically around 75%, which means it keeps around a quarter of its cash to invest back into the company. That shot up over 100% when it suffered declines at the beginning of the pandemic since the company was committed to paying and raising its dividend regularly.
Things are looking back up now, and revenue increased 12% year over year in the 2022 second quarter to $11.3 billion. Coca-Cola is dealing with inflation and macroeconomic headwinds that affected profitability, and earnings per share (EPS) decreased 28% to $0.44, although comparable EPS increased 4% to $0.70.
The company has been making many moves to become leaner and operate more effectively, including leaning into digital and slashing its brand count from 400 to 200. These are resulting in a more efficient organization that's focused on core brands and stronger consumer relationships.
Its dividend yield is actually on the lower side these days at 2.6%. It usually hovers around 3%. Dividend yield is inversely correlated with higher price movements -- as the stock price increases, the yield decreases. In the current market, as people are putting their money into safe dividend stocks, Coca-Cola stock has been an excellent performer, gaining 10% this year as the S&P 500 has lost 10%.
For the time being, the yield is pressured, but that means investors have gained on the stock. Coca-Cola is a stable and dependable dividend stock that you can hold forever.
Kimberly-Clark owns brands such as Scott paper towels, Kleenex tissues, and Cottonelle toilet paper. In other words, it sells products people have in their homes all the time and buy frequently. That has led to $20 billion in sales over the trailing 12 months and growing.
Although this is not a high-growth business; rather, it posts predictable growth. The company's vast resources allow it to launch new products without skipping a beat, and its well-oiled operating system chugs along to bring you essentials when you need them.
That's why in the 2022 second quarter, when many companies have been experiencing tough macroeconomic pressure, Kimberly-Clark's revenue increased 7% over last year. EPS increased as well, from $1.19 last year to $1.29 this year, as the company was able to incorporate price increases into its business model to counteract cost increases. Management raised its full-year outlook for sales and maintained its EPS forecast.
In this type of company, change is vital to stay efficient. Large and complex systems can become outdated and lose out on cost efficiency, and Kimberly-Clark has restructured over the past few years to stay dynamic, manageable, and profitable.
Kimberly-Clark joined the Dividend Kings club just this month when it raised its dividend for the 50th consecutive year. Its dividend yields 3.3% at the current price, just around where it usually falls.
Between its leading, indispensable brands, strong execution, and commitment to its dividend, this is a dividend that shareholders can count on.