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Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has remained one of the more prominent Dividend Aristocrats. With a yield of almost 3.6% and a 57-year track record of annual dividend increases, it stands out even among other long-term dividend payers. The dividend return comes in substantially higher than the average yield for the S&P 500, which stands at just above 2%.
Among the more prominent investors in Coca-Cola is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. His 400 million shares comprise 9.3% of all shares outstanding.
Despite this strong performance, many companies in varying industries pay significantly higher dividend yields than Coca-Cola. Some dividend stocks have risen from the ashes following the 2008 financial crisis. While not offering the long-term streaks of dividend increases, they offer impressive payouts. Furthermore, while Coca-Cola's streak of annual payout hikes stands out, it is not a record.
Amid these considerations, these are some of the stocks which now pay a higher dividend yield than Coca-Cola:
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Fifth Third Bancorp
The 2008 financial crisis forced many bank stocks to end their dividend increase streaks. But many, like Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), have since made a comeback. Not only did it resume dividend increases, but the company has also begun again to increase them on an annual basis.
Fifth Third's three-year streak of yearly payout hikes does not compare well to Coca-Cola. However, the payout has steadily risen since falling to the $0.04 per share annual level following the financial crisis. Today's dividend of $1.08 per share yields just under 6.3%.
Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected earnings. Due to falling interest rates, fee waivers, and slower business activity, the company has seen profit margins become squeezed. In the most recent quarter, diluted earnings came in at $0.04 per share, down from $1.12 per share in the same quarter last year.
Although analysts still expect the company to earn $0.31 per share in the next quarter, these lower profits have serious implications for the dividend. As a result, the dividend payout ratio has risen to about 90.2%. Still, with earnings expected to rebound in 2021, a dividend cut does not appear likely. If the 2021 earnings forecast of $2.19 per share holds, Fifth Third should have no trouble covering its dividend expense.
Moreover, this Cincinnati-based regional bank has become a bargain. This stock, which traded below $30 per share at the beginning of 2020, lost nearly half of its value amid coronavirus-driven selling. Now its forward P/E ratio has fallen to about 10.5. The 50.4% projected earnings decline for this year might dampen that appeal somewhat. However, with a 58.7% profit growth rate predicted for next year, Fifth Third suddenly looks inexpensive.
Wall Street analysts also forecast an average earnings growth rate of 10.15% per year for the next five years for the company. If the business comes close to matching this level, both the dividend and Fifth Third Bancorp stock should serve investors well in the coming years.
Despite Coca-Cola's high dividend yield and longevity, both the dividend return and the streak of annual increases fall just short of what Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC) offers. The Atlanta-based automotive and industrial parts company does not often attract headlines, unlike many other consumer discretionary stocks.
However, while Genuine Parts may lack notoriety, it offers investors consistency. The company boasts a record of annual payout hikes going back 63 years, the highest among Dividend Aristocrats. Moreover, the massive sell-off inspired by coronavirus has taken its dividend yield significantly higher. At today's levels, new investors will just over 4.2% return on the dividend alone.
Furthermore, the dividend payout ratio stands at around 71.5%. In other words, nearly three-fourths of the company's profits go to shareholders in the form of cash payments.
Due in large part to this payout expense, investors should view Genuine Parts stock as a dividend play only. The cost of the dividend leaves only about 38.5% of the profits available to reinvest in the company or repurchase shares. For now, the company's business lacks consistent growth potential. Analysts forecast that profit reductions for the next five years will average 1.9% per year, though they forecast earnings growth in 2021. The long dividend streak still makes further payout hikes likely, but investors should expect minimal increases until the growth numbers improve.
Moreover, electric cars could cause a problem for Genuine Parts, as these vehicles use significantly fewer parts. Should they become a large segment of the automobile market, demand for auto parts could decline meaningfully, causing Genuine Parts' business to shrink.
However, as long as gasoline-powered cars continue to sell, Genuine Parts should continue to drive dividend hikes for years to come.
The role of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in the 5G space makes this company worth considering. It will serve as only one of three companies to provide nationwide 5G service in the U.S. Moreover, its payout will also help position the company to produce more growth and income than Coca-Cola.
Verizon has made considerable investments to build a 5G network. Capital expenditures amounted to $17.939 billion in 2019 and $16.658 billion in 2018. These costs will likely discourage competitors other than AT&T and T-Mobile from entering the market. These expenses also make it less likely T-Mobile will initiate a price war like it did in the 3G and 4G eras. Hence, the profit picture for Verizon should improve once more 5G networks launch.
At a payout of $2.46 per share, it will produce a yield of just under 4.4% at current prices. Moreover, it has increased this payout for 15 consecutive years. This means it could become a Dividend Aristocrat in as little as 10 years.
Admittedly, some dividend investors might find themselves more drawn to its peer AT&T for its dividend. AT&T stock currently yields about 7.1%, and it has maintained this payout increases for 35 straight years. Still, at a payout ratio of around 64.5%, AT&T's dividend takes a larger share of the company's profits than Verizon's 51.7% payout ratio.
Also, AT&T has made more significant investments outside of 5G. Consequently, AT&T carries more substantial levels of debt. Though AT&T can still maintain its dividend, the higher yield will bring with it increased risk.
For investors wanting a relatively high dividend yield in an environment of relative safety, Verizon looks like an excellent choice.
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