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All Contents © 2019The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA, Contributing Writer
| June 27, 2018
Retirement for most Americans is a giant and often scary jump into the unknown. In your working years, you can generally take the occasional investing mistake in stride. Retirement portfolio losses can be offset by simply saving more or working a little longer.
But once you’ve retired, you no longer have that luxury. You need your nest egg to last throughout your life and possibly that of your spouse as well. So, as you choose your investments, choose wisely.
A good retirement stock will ideally pay a healthy dividend. Sonia Joao, President of Robertson Wealth Management, a Houston-based RIA, explains, “Eighty percent of our clients are in or near retirement, and virtually all of them tell us the same thing. They’re looking for safe, secure streams of income to meet their living expenses and replace their paychecks.”
A safe dividend is arguably the most important characteristic to look for. But with inflation likely to be higher over the next decade than it was over the previous one, retirees also need growth to maintain their purchasing power. So, a good retirement portfolio will be laden with income stocks – but also a few growth plays for balance.
Just remember: Not all “income stocks” belong in a retirement portfolio. For example, troubled industries like tobacco and telecom might have juicy yields, but they offer virtually no possibility for growth.
Now, let’s dig in. Here are 25 stocks every retiree should own.
Data is as of June 26, 2018. Stocks are listed in alphabetical order. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent quarterly payout and dividing by the share price.
Market value: $118.2 billion
Dividend yield: 2.6%
3M (MMM, $196.58) is not interesting by any stretch of the imagination. This is a company whose claim to fame is tape and sticky notes, for crying out loud.
But 3M’s lack of pizazz is exactly what makes it an attractive retirement stock. Demand for its products tends to be stable, and its brands – boring as they might be – do have name recognition. Everyone knocks Scotch tape, Post-it Notes and Scotch-Brite scrubbers.
3M likely will not make you wealthy, but it should be a consistent and reliable producer throughout your retirement. The stock yields about 2.6%, which is modest, but the company has boosted its dividend every year since 1959 – there aren’t too many companies out there that can boast that kind of consistency. And if the dividend continues to grow, you’ll be enjoying higher yields on your original cost basis year in and year out.
Market value: $10.6 billion
Dividend yield: 1.4%
Revolutionary automaker Tesla Motors (TSLA) may or may not still be around in five years; the company consistently bleeds cash and has never turned a full-year profit. Yet whatever happens with Tesla, the future almost assuredly belongs to electric vehicles.
Consumer acceptance of electric vehicles has been slow because, frankly, the products have generally been terrible. In the past, prices were high, styling was clunky and performance left something to be desired. Yet Tesla proved that electric cars can be a smash hit with consumers if they are stylish and high-performance vehicles.
This new understanding – along with environmental regulations that are forcing automakers to sell cars that produce fewer carbon emission – is leading virtually every major automaker to jump into EV production. Electric vehicles require lithium-ion batteries, which means that demand for mined lithium should only continue to rise.
Lithium is arguably the new oil.
One of the easiest ways to invest in this long-term trend is by investing in leading lithium miner Albemarle (ALB, $92.52). Albemarle is more volatile than most of the stocks on this list. But it’s important that retirees have a little growth in their portfolios, and Albemarle allows them to ride what is expected to be one of the more powerful trends of the next 20 years in the adoption of EVs.
Market value: $825.5 billion
Dividend yield: N/A
Amazon.com (AMZN, $1,691.09) might seem like an odd choice for a retirement stock list given its relatively short life as a company and its reputation as a high-momentum growth stock. Amazon also does not currently pay a dividend and has no plans to start in the immediate future.
But remember: A retirement stock should be one that you are comfortable holding for years, and it should be largely future-proof.
It might be a stretch to call Amazon “future-proof.” But you could argue that Amazon has done more to create the futuristic world of today than any other company. This is the outfit that essentially created e-commerce as we know it. It turned cloud computing into a massive profit center. Amazon also is a groundbreaker in using drone technology, and the company has been an innovator in warehousing and distribution logistics.
Plus, ask yourself this: Are you likely to do more of your shopping online, or less, in the years ahead?
If there is any common complaint about AMZN stock, it is simply the price. At 213 times earnings and 4 times sales, Amazon is pricey by most objective measures. But it’s also one of the few large companies that could credibly have the potential to grow into a valuation like that if held for 20 or more years.
Market value: $63.4 billion
Dividend yield: 2.0%
Two questions for you: Do you use more mobile voice and data than you did five years ago? And do you see yourself using less mobile data or voice any time soon?
If you’re like most Americans, your phone has only become more essential to your life in recent years. That’s not likely to change at any point in the coming years … or possibly ever.
More mobile usage means more demand for cell towers. And that spells opportunity for tower operator American Tower (AMT, $143.17).
American Tower is not your ordinary real estate investment trust (REIT). Instead of owning apartments or warehouse, this REIT owns a diverse portfolio of cell towers spread across the United States, Mexico, South America, India and parts of Europe and Africa. The REIT owns more than 160,000 towers, 40,000 of which are located in the United States. Up-and-coming India houses roughly 60,000.
If you’re looking for a company that is future-proof (or at least close to it), American Tower is it.
American Tower’s dividend yield, at 2%, isn’t exceptionally high. But this is a stock that raised its dividend literally every quarter since mid-2012. So what it lack in yield, AMT more than makes up in dividend growth.
Courtesy Archer Daniels Midland
Market value: $26.1 billion
Dividend yield: 2.8%
Humans have been farming for thousands of years. In fact, farming is what defines the onset of civilization. So, if you’re looking for a stock that is likely to still be around decades or even centuries from now, farm products company Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM, $46.23) is a solid choice.
ADM was founded in 1902 and has been a public company since 1924. The company has approximately 500 crop procurement locations and connects crops to markets in all six inhabited continents. In addition to food, Archer-Daniels-Midland produces animal feed and various organics used for industrial and energy applications.
At current prices, ADM yields just shy of 3%. And impressively, it has raised its dividend every year since 1976.
Farming might not be particularly interesting. But it’s a critical piece of the economy, and it’s certainly not going anywhere.
Market value: $461.6 billion
Few American capitalists are better known that Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.B, $186.44) Warren Buffett, and for good reason. The Oracle of Omaha took a failing textile company and, over the course of a few decades, transformed it into a thriving, diversified conglomerate and a financial-and-insurance powerhouse.
In addition to Berkshire’s well-known positions in public companies such as Apple (AAPL), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Coca-Cola (KO), the conglomerate has a vast portfolio of profitable private businesses such as See’s Candies and Nebraska Furniture Mart.
From 1965 through 2017, Buffett grew Berkshire Hathaway’s book value per share by 19.1% per year – more than double the S&P 500’s price performance of 9.9%. That represents an overall gain of an almost impossible-to-believe 1,088,029%.
Buffett is no spring chicken at 87 years old, and realistically he will not be running the company in his current capacity for much longer. That’s OK. His legacy will be one of the strongest and best-capitalized financial companies in history.
It’s not realistic to expect 19% annual returns going forward, either. Even if Buffett were a younger man with decades of his career in front of him, Berkshire is now simply too big to grow at that pace. That’s OK, too. At this stage of the game, you buy Berkshire for its financial strength and stability, not its growth prospects.
With its strong cash position, don’t be surprised if Berkshire’s growth ends up being solid coming out of the next bear market. Buffett or his successors will likely do what they have always done, which is use their cash hoard to buy quality assets when they go on sale.
Market value: $12.8 billion
Dividend yield: 1.6%
Church & Dwight (CHD, $51.69) is one of several boring but consistent consumer-staples stocks that will help you pay your bills in retirement. Church & Dwight makes many of the household cleaning products you keep in your kitchen or utility room yet never really stop to consider. Its brands include Arm & Hammer baking soda, OxiClean stain remover and Arrid deodorant, among others.
Church & Dwight also is a leader in family planning products as the owner of the Trojan condom brand.
CHD sports a dividend yield of about 1.6%. That isn’t exceptionally high, and in fact is a little less than the S&P 500. Church & Dwight has paid a dividend for 117 years and counting and has raised its dividend for the past 22 years.
You’re not going to get rich on this stock. But if you’re looking for a consistent producer to get you through retirement, it’s a solid option.
Market value: $1.5 billion
Distribution rate: 6.4%*
Stocks should be a big part of any long-term retirement portfolio. But closed-end funds (CEFs) can be an excellent high-yield addition as well. Unlike typical open-ended bond mutual funds, which hold relatively liquid bonds to meet investor redemptions, closed-end funds can hold less liquid securities because redemptions aren’t an issue. CEFs issue a fixed number of shares, which trade like stocks.
David Fabian, Managing Partner of FMD Capital Management LLC, explains, “With bond yields being depressed for over a decade now, we’ve taken to looking outside the traditional income sectors. Closed-end funds and similar vehicles allow for greater flexibility in duration exposure, sector targeting, leverage, and hedging when appropriate. These factors create a favorable backdrop to outperform along with the capability to keep income relatively high.”
One interesting quirk of CEFs is that they can trade at discounts to their underlying net asset values. Think of it as being able to buy a dollar’s worth of assets for 90 cents, or sometimes even less.
The Eaton Vance Limited Duration Income Fund (EVV, $12.60) is a CEF that holds a diversified portfolio of floating-rate bank loans. Today, the fund trades at a deep 13.5% discount to NAV and yields an attractive 6.4%.
EVV’s distribution has been cut a few times in the past, but that’s fairly common with closed-end funds and doesn’t have the same ominous implications as a company’s dividend cut has. Thus, the payout should be viewed as less stable as many of the other stocks mentioned in this article – but closed-end funds such as (and including) EVV still can be a nice income-boosting addition to most retirement portfolios.
*Distribution rate can be a combination of dividends, interest income, realized capital gains and return of capital, and is an annualized reflection of the most recent payout. Distribution rate is a standard measure for CEFs.
Market value: $60.7 billion
Distribution yield: 6.1%*
If consistency is something you want in a retirement stock, it’s difficult to find many stocks that are more consistent than natural gas pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners, LP (EPD, $27.66). Over the past three years, EPD has raised its dividend by between 5% and 6% per year. Over the past five years, it has raised its dividend between 5% and 6% per year. And over the past 10 years – you guessed it – Enterprise Products Partners has raised its dividend by about 5% to 6% per year.
EPD is anything if not consistent.
This blue-chip master limited partnership (MLP) went public in 1998, and over the past 20 years it has slowly but steadily grown into an energy infrastructure empire with over 50,000 miles of pipelines transporting natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Over the long term, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind will continue to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But natural gas will continue to grow as petroleum and particularly coal decline. Among traditional fossil fuels, natural gas is the greenest option. And over the retirement timeframe of anyone reading this article, natural gas is likely to be an important part of America’s energy infrastructure.
*Distribution yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent distribution and dividing by the share price. Distributions are similar to dividends, but are treated as tax-deferred returns of capital and require different paperwork come tax time.
Courtesy Mike Mozart via Flickr
Market value: $227.1 billion
Dividend yield: 2%
It’s not easy competing against Amazon.com. Most companies have hit some serious roadblocks as Bezos’ behemoth has encroached on their territory. But leading home improvement retailer Home Depot (HD, $196.36) isn’t one of them. The company has survived and thrived in the era of e-commerce by the very nature of its business. Many (perhaps most) home improvement products are messy affairs that involve spur-of-the-moment trips to the hardware store for tools or supplies.
And is often the case, shoppers don’t always know exactly what it is they need to buy. They need to browse the aisles and probably ask an employee for help. All of this makes it very unlikely that Amazon or other e-tailers will gain much in the way of market share.
If they try, Home Depot is ready for them. The company has a thriving online business of its own with over 1 million products available.
Today, Home Depot operates more than 2,200 stores across North America that collectively generate more than $100 billion in revenue. It’s a powerhouse company – one that belongs in a diversified retirement portfolio.
Market value: $22.1 billion
Dividend yield: 3.6%
A paper company in the digital age might seem an odd choice considering we’re looking for “future-proof” stocks.
But the appeal of International Paper (IP, $53.20) ties directly to a certain e-retailer from Seattle. You know, the one founded by Jeff Bezos.
As e-commerce continues to grow, so does demand for cardboard packaging. And while environmental activists rightly complain that the amount of cardboard and plastic packaging used per shipment can and should be reduced, shipments are expected to grow for the foreseeable future. That means continued growth for International Paper.
Furthermore, International Paper makes more than just packaging. The company also produces fluff pulp for baby and adult diapers and other hygiene products.
International Paper pays an attractive 3.4% dividend and has been raising its payout for six consecutive years and counting.
Market value: $39.1 billion
Dividend yield: 3.3%
Kinder Morgan (KMI, $17.55) is going to be a little more controversial than other pipeline companies. Unlike its more conservative peers, Kinder got a little too aggressive during the boom years of the early 2010s and frankly borrowed more than it should have to simultaneously boost its capital spending and its dividend.
That was a mistake, and one that cost the company’s shareholders dearly. Kinder Morgan had to slash its dividend in 2015, and its share price today trades at less than half its old all-time high.
Despite this, Kinder Morgan still is a solid choice in a retirement portfolio. The company learned its lesson in 2015, and it has been managed far more conservatively ever since. Today, Kinder Morgan operates like a “normal” company, funding most of its growth via retained earnings as opposed to dipping into the debt and equity markets.
After the humiliation of cutting its dividend in 2015, management is extremely unlikely to allow that to happen again. So investors buying today can enjoy an attractive 3.3% dividend that should enjoy steady, sustainable growth for years to come.
Market value: $1.7 billion
Dividend yield: 5.3%
It’s no secret that the aging of America’s Baby Boomers will create unique challenges. We’re talking about a generation of more than 80 million people – a population roughly the size of Germany.
But while the Boomers will put major stress on the system, they also will create opportunities to profit. Consider health and senior-living REIT LTC Properties (LTC, $42.85).
To get an idea of what LTC does, take a good look at its ticker symbol. “LTC” is short for “long-term care,” which is exactly the business LTC Properties is in. LTC owns a diverse portfolio of skilled nursing and assisted living properties spanning 29 states. Approximately 51% of the portfolio is invested in skilled nursing properties, with most of the remainder invested in assisted living properties.
Health and senior living aren’t necessarily exciting businesses, but they have excellent demographic-based demand in the years ahead. Over 10,000 boomers turn 65 every single day.
LTC Properties currently yields 5.3%, which is competitive in this market. It’s also worth noting that LTC pays its dividend monthly, making it ideal for retirees living off their investments.
Courtesy Tony Webster via Flickr
Market value: $15.7 billion
Distribution yield: 5.3%
If there is any energy MLP that can rival Enterprise Products in terms of quality, it would be Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP, $69.52). Unlike Enterprise, which transports mostly natural gas and natural gas liquids, Magellan transports mostly crude oil and refined products. It also has massive storage capacity for over 100 million barrels of gasoline, crude and diesel.
The MLP space tends to be dominated by “cowboys” that can be somewhat cavalier with risk. That certainly is not the case with Magellan, which has been a model of prudent and conservative growth since it first went public in 2001.
Magellan has also done a fine job of taking care of its unitholders (MLPs have “unitholders” and not “shareholders”). The company was one of the first to eliminate the incentive distribution rights that favor management over the investors.
At current prices, MMP yields an attractive 5.3%, and it has raised that distribution at an impressive 12% annual clip since going public.
Market value: $124.4 billion
Dividend yield: 2.5%
If there was ever a company that has proven its ability to reinvent itself over the decades, it would be McDonald’s (MCD, $160.91). The iconic burger chain has been a fixture in American life since the 1950s, and today the company has over 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries.
McDonald’s has managed to stay relevant all this time by being willing to make changes when necessary, such as its move a couple years ago to reignite customer interest by offering all-day breakfast. And McDonald’s is proving its adaptability again by rolling out self-service kiosks in its U.S. locations in response to rising labor costs and a preference by customers to embrace technology.
Interestingly, McDonald’s has found that customers tend to order more when left to play with the self-service kiosks, which effectively means that McDonald’s strategy has evolved from pure cost cutting to a broader sales strategy.
McDonalds has raised its dividend for 41 consecutive years and counting. McDonald’s menu will likely look a lot different in the decades ahead, but it’s a safe bet the company will still be alive and kicking and throwing off a reliable dividend.
Market value: $6.7 billion
Dividend yield: 5.7%
National Retail Properties (NNN, $31.55) is an excellent addition to any retirement portfolio. National Retail Properties is a conservative triple-net retail REIT that invests in free-standing, high-traffic retail properties. To give a clue as to how deeply committed National Retail is to the triple-net model, its ticker symbol – NNN – is shorthand for triple net.
National Retail Properties holds a diverse portfolio of more than 2,800 properties spread across 48 states and 37 industries. Convenience stores, at 17%, make up the single largest share of the portfolio, and 7-Eleven is the single largest tenant with a little more than 6% of the portfolio. LA Fitness, AMC Entertainment (AMC) movie theaters and Taco Bell also are among the top 10 tenants.
National Retail Properties isn’t a get-rich-quick stock. It’s a landlord to convenience stores, for crying out loud. But this is a stock you can feel comfortable putting in your retirement portfolio knowing that it will continue to deliver dividends like clockwork. The REIT yields just shy of 6% and has raised its dividend every year for the past 28 years and counting.
Market value: $2.9 billion
With the aging of America’s Baby Boomers, medicine and medical properties would seem like an obvious investment theme. Yet medicine is a tricky business in the United States and one that is subject to shifting regulatory landscape. Making it worse, Uncle Sam is ultimately responsible for paying for Medicare and Medicaid patients, and he’s proven to be a tough customer. Medicare and Medicaid routinely change their reimbursement rates, often with little warning.
For investors looking to play the trend of increased medical demand due to America’s aging population – but looking to avoid the game of handicapping the likelihood of getting paid by the government – medical office properties present an interesting opportunity. As the landlord, the underlying profitability of the medical practice isn’t your concern. So long as the doctor’s office makes enough money to pay its rent, you’re good to go.
Physicians Realty Trust (DOC, $16.02) is an interesting way to play this trend. Ninety-seven percent of its portfolio is invested in medical office buildings with most of the small remainder invested in hospitals.
We can’t saw with any certainty what the economy will look like in 20 years. But it’s likely people will still be visiting doctors’ offices, and DOC gives us a convenient way to play that trend while collecting a nearly 6% dividend.
Market value: $197.1 billion
Among consumer staples, few companies can compete with Procter & Gamble (PG, $78.00) in terms of name recognition. The company owns Tide laundry detergent, Pampers diapers, Gillette razor blades and a host of other household brands.
Unfortunately, that has been more of a curse than a blessing over the past decade. Consumers, strapped for cash following the 2008 meltdown, switched to cheaper generic brands, and many have yet to return to higher-priced premium brands. With facial hair more popular these days, razor sales have been weak.
These are likely nothing more than cyclical setbacks. Procter & Gamble has proven itself more than capable of changing with the times. And when P&G finds it difficult to compete, it often simply buys the competition; consider that it recently bought Merck’s (MRK) consumer-health division.
Procter & Gamble yields an attractive 3.6%. You likely won’t see market-beating growth in this stock, but it’s one that should alive and kicking well into your retirement.
Market value: $34.4 billion
Dividend yield: 2.9%
Real estate has become something of a minefield in recent years. With the rise of Amazon and of ecommerce in general, there is a perception that brick-and-mortar real estate is quickly becoming obsolete. =
That’s debatable, of course. Entertainment and service-based industries (everything from a dental practice to a Starbucks) are not affected by the rise of Amazon, and we’re a long way from completely replacing brick-and-mortar retail.
But let’s say the bears are right about the death of retail. This actually presents a fantastic opportunity for logistical real estate landlords such as Prologis (PLD, $64.02).
Prologis is a REIT specializing in warehouse and distribution properties, owing or having significant investments in more than 680 million square feet across 19 countries. It includes among its biggest tenants heavyweights such as Amazon.com, United Parcel Services (UPS), FedEx (FDX) and Walmart (WMT).
But importantly, Prologis is also highly diversified. Its top 25 tenants represent just 19% of its net effective rents.
If you believe in the inevitable rise of ecommerce, then Prologis is a good way to play that trend while also getting paid a growing dividend. At current prices, Prologis yields nearly 3%, and the REIT consistently raises its dividend by about 10% per year.
Market value: $39.9 billion
Dividend yield: 3.5%
Self-storage REIT Public Storage (PSA, $229.00) may be one of the least sexy stocks in the entire S&P 500. If you mention the stock at a cocktail party, you won’t be the center of attention.
The boringness is exactly what makes it such an ideal retirement stock. Self-storage is one of the most recession-proof investments you’re likely to ever find. In fact, recessions are often good for the self-storage industry, as they force people to downsize and move into smaller homes or even move in with parents or other family.
But there’s another angle to this story as well. According to Ari Rastegar – founder of Rastegar Equity Partners, a real estate private equity firm with expertise in the self-storage sector – changes to the broader economy are at work.
“Despite unemployment being exceptionally low, wages haven’t kept pace with rising prices,” Rastegar explains. “This has led to the rise of micro apartments and the general trend of smaller units closer to city centers. All of this bodes very well for the future of the self-storage sector. Your apartment might be shrinking, but you still need to put your personal belongings somewhere.”
Public Storage has a diversified portfolio of 2,392 properties spread across 38 states and additionally has a significant presence in Europe. The REIT has raised its dividend every year since 1999, and over that time the dividend has increased nearly 10-fold. In 1999, the quarterly dividend was a modest 22 cents per share; today, it’s a whopping $2 per share … and rising.
PSA’s 3.5% yield isn’t exceptionally high by any stretch, but it’s still better than what you’re able to get in the bond market these days – at least not without taking significantly more risk.
Market value: $15.6 billion
Dividend yield: 4.8%
No retirement stock list would be complete without a mention of triple-net retail REIT Realty Income (O, $54.35). If Public Storage is the most boring stock on Wall Street, Realty Income is a close second.
The REIT owns a diversified portfolio of more than 5,000 freestanding retail properties in high-traffic locations and spread across 49 states and Puerto Rico. Its typical property might be the local Walgreens (WBA) pharmacy or 7-Eleven convenience store. These aren’t exactly exciting destination locations, like a resort hotel, but places where you take care of basic, mundane tasks like filling a prescription or your car’s gas tank.
As a triple-net landlord, all taxes, maintenance and insurance costs are paid by Realty Income’s tenants. Once the property is purchased and let, Realty Income’s only real responsibility is to collect the rent checks.
Not bad work, if you can find it.
Realty Income has been a dividend-raising machine over its life, raising its dividend for 83 consecutive quarters. It has raised its dividend at a 4.7% annual rate since its 1994 initial public offering. That’s not lottery money, but it’s exactly the kind of consistency you want to see in a retirement stock.
Realty Income yields a respectable 4.8% at current prices. And if history is any guide, it be a little higher every year from now until the end of time.
As an added bonus, Realty Income pays its dividend monthly. That’s convenient for retirees looking to match their income to their regular monthly expenses.
Market value: $109.1 billion
Dividend yield: 1.9%
The world has changed a lot in the past 119 years. America has added states and fought in two world wars. We saw the rise and fall of fascism and communism. And women won the right to vote.
But you know what hasn’t changed in that entire span of time?
Railroad operator Union Pacific’s (UNP, $141.26) willingness to take care of its shareholders. The company has paid a dividend without interruption for 119 years and counting. That’s not a bad run. And it likely won’t be broken any time soon.
Union Pacific controls more than 32,000 miles of railways and hauls virtually everything from raw commodities to finished consumer goods. Union Pacific is the American economy.
If you’re looking for a company that will survive and prosper throughout your retirement years – and likely for decades after you’re dead and in the ground –Union Pacific is worth considering.
Market value: $94.4 billion
Dividend yield: 3.2%
United Parcel Service (UPS, $109.57) might at first seem like a boring “old economy” company. The bulky brown trucks and less-than-flattering tan uniforms don’t exactly scream “modern.” But few companies are more tied to the modern ecommerce economy than UPS. E-commerce requires reliable delivery, and UPS is the clear leader.
Ironically, Amazon – the company that created the boom in shipments – also presents one of UPS’s primary risks, as Amazon is busily building out its own distribution and delivery infrastructure. Yet, amazingly given Amazon’s size, Amazon only accounts for about 7% of UPS’s revenues. So, in the unlikely scenario in which Amazon cut all ties with UPS, growth in e-commerce from other competitors would quickly replace whatever sales were lost.
UPS shares are down sharply this year and now yield an attractive 3.2%. Plus, the company is building up a nice streak of dividend increases since 2009.
If you believe in the long-term growth of ecommerce, UPS is a good way to play that trend.
Market value: $257 billion
Dividend yield: 2.4%
Walmart (WMT, $85.98) is the world’s largest retailer as well as its largest private employer. And yes, Walmart has done more to revolutionize retail than any company in history (at least until Amazon came along).
But still … it’s Walmart: a boring, utilitarian retailer.
Still, if you’re looking for a company that has survived and thrived despite an ever changing consumer landscape, you’ll be hard pressed to find better than Walmart. Walmart is also one of the very few large, mass market retailers that can even pretend to compete head-to-head with the mighty Amazon.com.
Every week, Walmart serves an average of 270 million customers. Stop and think about that. That’s nearly 80% of the entire U.S. population … every week. Globally, the company operates 11,700 stores. And its ecommerce business – while still far behind that of Amazon – benefits from the fact that Walmart already has a logistics network in place in the form of its stores and truck fleet that give it an incredible advantage over most rivals.
Walmart also has continuously raised its dividend every year since 1975. And over the past 10 years, it has hiked the payout at an 8.2% annualized clip.
Market value: $35 billion
Dividend yield: 2.2%
Garbage. None of really wants to think about to our trash once we leave it at the curb or toss it down the chute, but waste collection and processing is a big business. And it’s also one that you can be reasonably certain isn’t going anywhere. In a good economy, a bad economy or anything in between, people still generate a lot of garbage.
Industry leader Waste Management (WM, $81.59) is there to take it away, out of sight and out of mind.
Waste Management is more than a garbage collector, however. It’s also a leader in green initiatives. It operates 102 recycling facilities, 127 landfill gas-to-energy facilities and 43 organics processing facilities. More than 6,000 Waste Management trucks run on alternative energy, and the company operates 107 natural gas fueling stations.
Waste Management has a diversified customer base, serving over 21 million residential and commercial customers across the U.S. and Canada, and no customer accounts for more than 2% of revenue.
The stock currently pays a 2.2% dividend, which isn’t exceptionally high. But the payout ratio is low, at just 37%, so there is plenty of room for growth.