In today's low-interest world many investors have fled to dividend paying stocks. The dividend yield for the S&P500 is currently very low, at only 1.86%. For those who have dividends as their only income stream, this may not be enough. Therefore, I have decided to list my four favorite stocks with dividend yield of over 4%.
First on the list is AT&T (NYSE:T). This telecom provider has increased its dividend each year for the past 30 years. It's currently trading at $35.03 per share, which gives it a dividend yield of 5.25%. The company recently announced it would acquire DIRECTV, a move that's expected to increase free cash flow and earnings per share within 12 months. Analysts expect AT&T's earnings per share to reach $2.65 this year, giving it a forward price to earnings ratio of only 13.2.
Another high dividend paying stock I'd recommend taking a look at is Altria Group (NYSE:MO). At the current price per share of $41.32, investors will be rewarded with a very reasonable 4.65% dividend yield. The company is currently trading at 16.1 times expected earnings for this fiscal year. Altria is more diversified than most tobacco companies, as it also has a 26.8% interest in the world's second-largest brewer, SABMiller.
Altria only operates within the United States, so if you'd like some exposure to international tobacco markets as well, Phillip Morris International (NYSE:PM) might be a good company to investigate. It's slightly more expensive than Altria, trading at a forward price to earnings ratio of 16.8, and its dividend yield is slightly lower, at 4.26%. The company sells its products in 180 counties around the globe, which makes it incredibly diversified, but also subjects it to currency risks.
Last but not least, I'd like to recommend The Southern Company (NYSE:SO). It provides energy to customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. It has recently increased its dividend to $0.525 per quarter and is now yielding a nice 4.74% dividend. The Southern Company has been paying dividends for decades, and at a forward price to earnings ratio of 15.9, it's not extremely expensive. Utility companies tend to be very stable in terms of revenue and profit, which I believe makes this a perfect stock for those looking to boost their dividend income in a reliable way.
With their stable, growing dividend streams, these stocks are almost like bonds, rewarding their owners with regular payments. This article should not be read as a recommendation to buy these stocks, but rather to inspire you to do your own research. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these, and other, dividend paying stocks, so feel free to comment.