With uncertainty in Europe and instability in many of the world’s economies, the global equity markets have shown extreme volatilityת and are becoming increasingly difficult for many investors to figure out. In times like these, stocks with high dividends offer investors a stream of income that help offset stock price dips across many of the world’s markets. We’ve identified 5 stocks with monster yields of 10% or more that may be worth a look:
Frontier Communications Corp (FTR)
FTR, a participant in the traditionally high dividend telecom market, currently trades near its 52 week low. The market cap of FTR as been in an overall downtrend since the beginning of 2011 and despite its poor performance, remains expensive on a price to earnings basis relative to many of its peers. FTR’s price to earnings level of 38.69 times greatly exceeds competitors like AT&T, Inc. (T), which currently stands at just 8.38 times, and Centurylink Inc. (CTL), which trades at a 16.77 price to earnings ratio.
Although a capital gain hungry investor may shy away from FTR, investors looking for a strong total return will be happy with the 11.77% dividend yield. Even in a dividend-heavy industry, it leads competitors like Centurylink Inc. and Windstream Corporation (WIN), which currently yield 8.53% and 8.02%, respectively.
FTR’s currently pays a dividend of $.75 per share and the potential for the continued sustainability of a dividend has been questioned by some because of the high payout ratio. While the payout ratio is an important metric, it is better to utilize a company’s free cash flow to gauge dividend sustainability than its earnings before taxes (free cash flow is real money generated by the company and not an accounting metric like profit). In the case of FTR, its cash flow payout ratio is well under 100% and should be sustainable, something that is comforting for value investors interested in this dividend stock.
Nokia Corporation (NOK)
NOK traded over $10 per share as recently as February of 2011, but has lost approximately half of its market capitalization since hitting a high of $11.73 early that month. The sharp drop came on the back of poor device sales and shrinking gross margins in the June quarter. The company has also seen market share decline as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) have taken control of the smartphone market.
In an industry with very few dividend paying companies, NOK may prove to be an attractive and conservative bet given the constantly shifting market share (and stock prices) within the technology device space. With a dividend yield of 10.45%, NOK trumps competitors like Siemens AG (SI) and Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) who pay dividends of 4.05% and 2.11%, respectively, and competitors like Research In Motion (RIMM) and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) who pay no dividend.
In terms of capital gain potential, slow sales growth and declining earnings per share (over a 5 year period), along with the aforementioned shrinking market share, do not bode well for growth. However, should new devices like the Windows Phone prove successful, the company may offer patient value investors growth along with a sizable dividend.
Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NLY)
As a REIT, NLY is required to pay out at least 90% of its profits to shareholders. As a result of this, dividend yields in the industry are traditionally high. While its dividend yield of 14.38% trails the yield offered by many smaller REITs, among more similar sized competitors like Public Storage (PSA) and Vornado Realty Trust (VNO), NLY leads the way. PSA and VNO investors are seeing dividends below 4%. Investors in search of a high total return should look to NLY even if capital gains potential may be limited given instability in the market.
The Fed’s implementation of Operation Twist provides further uncertainty for REIT investors as it has the potential to raise short term borrowing costs while simultaneously tightening profits from longer-term assets. (Efsinvestment offers an informative look at the effect Operation Twist will have on REITS at Seeking Alpha). This has the potential to cut into the dividend yield and stunt capital gains throughout the industry. In spite of this, the management team at NLY has shown an ability to operate efficiently and consistently maintain strong margins relative to many in the industry.
Chimera Investment Corporation (CIM)
Like NLY, CIM is a REIT that traditionally offers its investors a sizable dividend. Among REITs with a market cap of over $2 billion, CIM offers the highest dividend at 17.33%. CIM has been stuck in a trading range of between about $2.50 and $4.30 per share for the better part of the years and doesn’t appear to have much upside in terms of capital gains in the near future.
A positive investment point, along with the strong dividend, is the large decrease in short interest in CIM from the end of August to the middle of September. This may signal a turn in investor sentiment towards the stock, and indicates that many investors see long-term total returns potential with CIM. While there may be stronger REIT investments, it will be hard for many investors to stay away from CIM’s monster yield-- given the currently volatile state of the global equity markets.
France Telecom SA (FTE)
Like the aforementioned FTR, FTE operates in the telecom industry, which traditionally pays high dividends to shareholders. Currently, FTE yields 11.87%, a very attractive figure given the volatility of stock prices in the industry. Among other participants in the foreign telecom industry, only Telefonica, S.A. (TEF), with a yield of 10.25% comes close to FTE’s 11.87% yield. Others, like Siemens AG and BT Group plc (BT) offer yields below 5%.
While the dividend yield is strong, investors may not want exposure to France and Europe, and may stay away from FTE despite the strong dividend. Adding to the uncertainty are the company’s growth prospects and the continuing decline in sales and earnings per share. During the last five years, the stock price has declined along with the sales and earnings drops and doesn’t appear to be going up any time soon.