To be sure, finding investment opportunities that provide utility industry-like dividends, which tend to be considerable, combined with high stock price appreciation potential isn't always realistic. However, in today's low-interest environment, there are several companies that offer solid dividend yields as well as significant, long-term growth possibilities that are worth considering. With markets selling off recently as well, now is the time to hunt for some cheap stock investments.
The same things that makes Microsoft a sound long-term opportunity for those in search of both growth and a decent dividend yield along the way, are exactly what investors should focus on when the software king announces its fiscal 2015, Q1 earnings after the close on Oct. 23. Whether a Microsoft fan or not, you've likely heard new CEO Satya Nadella's emphasis on his "mobile-first, cloud-first" objective for driving future growth.
Much of the blame for Microsoft's woes, prior to its recent resurgence, was it snail-like pace in transitioning to new technologies, particularly the aforementioned mobile and cloud industries. But it was clear after last quarter, Nadella's transition is taking hold. With an annual run-rate approaching $4.5 billion in revenues, Microsoft's cloud business is arguably leading the industry, and will be a key component of its pending earnings news.
With multiple low-cost smartphones ideal for fast-growing, emerging markets, and its cutting-edge Surface Pro 3, Microsoft is making headway in mobile, too, and it should continue to be an area of substantial growth. All this while providing shareholders with a nearly 3% dividend yield? The future looks good for Microsoft, particularly for investors in search of both growth and income.
Much like Nadella, when then-new CEO Brian Krzanich took the helm at Intel in May of last year, some of the very first words he uttered spoke volumes about the challenges, and the opportunities, that lie ahead for the chip-making king. Krzanich said he wanted to, "continue our proud legacy, while moving even faster into ultra-mobility, to lead Intel into the next era." You can add the Internet of Things, or IoT, along with cloud-related enterprise solutions to Krzanich's transition objectives.
Impressively, Intel is already making significant strides in fulfilling Krzanich's mission, as illustrated by last week's 2014, Q3 earnings announcement. Though it may come as a surprise to many, Intel's longtime bread-and-butter, the PC industry, is beginning to show signs of stabilizing. That, combined with a 16% jump in Intel's Data Center Group revenues – which includes its cloud-computing solutions-compared to last year, and IoT revenue growth of 14% helped drive a record-breaking quarter.
Getting its chips into smartphones continues to be a challenge, but as Intel's recently announced deal to supply its Atom processor to Asus' new smartphone and tablet for the U.S. market, its first-ever deal for a domestic LTE smartphone, strides are being made. For long-term investors, Intel's anemic share of the mobile market represents a huge opportunity for future growth, and its 2.88% dividend yield will make the wait a lot more tolerable.
Last, but not least
Unlike Microsoft and Intel, Qualcomm got on board the mobile train early, and its dominant position providing chips, particularly its wildly popular Snapdragon chipset, for smartphones and other mobile devices is a testament to its efforts. However, it could be argued that Qualcomm's overwhelming lead in mobile is an argument against future growth, even as it offers its shareholders a solid 2.32% dividend yield.
But as Qualcomm demonstrated last quarter, its 17% improvement in revenues beat its own expectations. Double-digit growth is always good, but what makes Qualcomm's even more impressive is it already owns a staggering 64% of the cellular baseband process market: that compares with 8% for Intel. But does Qualcomm need to garner even more market share to fuel its growth? Not necessarily, because the mobile pie itself is continuing its explosive growth, particularly in emerging markets. And Qualcomm's dominance already extends well beyond the U.S., a nice one-two punch.