If today's elevated stock market spooks you out, you're not alone. Valuations are high compared with historical levels, and if the Federal Reserve does go through with its plans to taper, it could cause stocks to retreat once that stimulus is withdrawn. Still, at the moment, it's hard to find investments that offer the same sort of long-term potential returns that stocks do. To the extent there is still some semblance of value in the market, it might be found in “boring” old-school dividend-paying companies.
The upside of these stocks that don't leap with the market is that you can make a case that they're still decently priced for reasonable returns over time. As a result, if you have $1,000, these two all-weather dividend stocks might be worth considering as a purchase. Although their potential growth may not be stellar, the fact that they're built to last also means they may even be worth looking at as companies worth holding forever.
No. 1: A healthcare titan hidden in plain sight
CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) may be best known to the public for its retail stores, but retail sales represent less than 10% of the company's total revenue. Instead, most of the revenue comes from its pharmacy, health insurance, and long-term care servicing business.
Those health-related businesses are generally resistant to economic challenges, as even in a recession, people are willing to spend on critical health-related needs. The company is expected to post modest earnings growth of around 6% annualized over the next five years, and in part because of that modest growth, it trades at less than 16 times its trailing earnings.
That reasonable valuation gives investors the opportunity to get a decent 2.3% yield on their shares, even though that dividend consumes only a little over a third of the company's earnings. Although CVS Health doesn't have a reputation of increasing its dividend every year, over the long haul, its payout has generally increased over time. As it continues to deleverage its balance sheet following its acquisition of health insurer Aetna, there's reason to believe it could resume dividend increases as early as 2022.
The fact that it paused its dividend increases to clean up its balance sheet bodes well for CVS Health's reputation as an “all-weather” stock. After all, a company's balance sheet is what lets it survive in tough times, and taking a little precaution now can set it up for longer-term success in the future.
No. 2: North America's energy pipeline giant
Canada-based Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) is North America's largest energy infrastructure company, with a network of oil and natural gas pipelines that run throughout the United States and Canada. Despite the growth of greener fuels, the U.S. Energy Information Agency expects strong demand for oil and natural gas for decades to come. That bodes well for Enbridge, which gets paid to ship those fuels from where they're produced to where they're processed and ultimately consumed.
Most of Enbridge's contracts are based on the flow of energy through the pipeline, not the price of that energy. As a result, the company's cash flows are much more predictable than that of energy producers that depend on high prices to recover their costs of exploration and extraction.
That predictability has enabled Enbridge to pay a dividend for 66 consecutive years and increase that dividend at around a 10% average annualized pace for over a quarter-century. Do note that as a Canadian company, U.S. investors will see some exchange rate fluctuations in the dividends they receive. In addition, U.S. investors who hold Enbridge's shares outside a retirement account will face a 15% Canadian withholding tax on those dividends.
Despite those additional risks associated with owning international companies, Enbridge's predictable cash flow profile and approximately 6.2% dividend yield make it worthy of consideration. That's especially true if it can continue the trend of increasing those dividends over time.
All-weather stocks for an uncertain current market
Neither CVS Health nor Enbridge stands out as the fastest-growing business on the planet, but their solid foundation in critical industries make them great candidates for long-term staying power. When combined with the fact these dividend stocks offer investors decent income and the potential for income growth over time, they start to look like all-weather companies worthy of consideration.
To get their next dividends, however, you need to buy their shares before they go ex-dividend. With the next one of their ex-dividend dates due later this week, it makes sense to start your own investigation now. Should you decide these two companies fit in your portfolio, the sooner you invest, the sooner you will start receiving the payments they offer their owners.
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Chuck Saletta owns shares of CVS Health and Enbridge. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Enbridge. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.