Why these 5 top dividend stocks all share a ‘Strong Buy’ rating

Dividend stocks are a savvy way to ride out the choppy markets right now. According to Bank of America, dividends can be a sign of corporate financial health. It says: “Dividends may help to mitigate portfolio losses when stock prices decline, and over long-time horizons, stocks with a history of increasing their dividend each year have also produced higher returns with considerably less risk than non-dividend-paying stocks.”

Indeed, all these five dividend stocks all share a ‘Strong Buy’ rating from the Street. We found these compelling dividend stocks using TipRanks’ powerful stock screener. By filtering for dividend stocks with mainly buy ratings from the last three months, we pinpointed a list of top dividend stock ideas. So without further ado, let’s dive in and take a closer look at what the Street’s top analysts are saying about these five stocks right now:

1. Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO)

Semiconductor giant Broadcom Limited has just paid a dividend of $1.75, up from $1.02 in September. Indeed, with a dividend yield of 2.8%, AVGO has an impressive dividend growth record of eight years and counting.

From a Street perspective, AVGO is one of the best investments out there. The stock has received 23 buy ratings and just 1 hold rating in the last three months. These analysts see AVGO spiking 30% to hit $322 in the next year. Top Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer says “We believe AVGO has one of the most strategically and financially attractive business models in semiconductors.”

In his most recent report (“Quality without Qualcomm”) he gives four key reasons for AVGO’s positive outlook, namely: 1) sustained competitive advantage in high-end filters; 2) a highly diversified, differentiated and “sticky” non-mobile business offering; 3) a manufacturing advantage; 4) substantial EPS and free cash flow accretion from the recently completed Brocade acquisition.

2. Medtronic (NYSE:MDT)

Irish-based Medtronic plc is among the world’s largest medical equipment development companies. Not only does MDT boast a rising share price (almost doubling over the past five years), it also qualifies as a Dividend Aristocrat.

The Dividend Aristocrats are a group of 51 companies in the S&P 500 Index, with 25-plus consecutive years of dividend increases. In this case, MDT scores 40 consecutive years of rising dividend payments. Currently, MDT pays a $0.46 quarterly dividend on a 2.3% current yield with a relatively low payout ratio of 39%.

“We are encouraged by the stronger revenue growth and expect it to eventually translate into stronger EPS growth as currency headwinds ease. We reiterate our Buy rating” stated Needham’s Michael Matson following the company’s fiscal third quarter earnings results. His $95 price target indicates upside potential of 19%.

3. Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX)

Oil giant Chevron pays a lucrative dividend yield of 3.74%. This resulted in a $1.12 quarterly payout in March. Note that the yield is far above the basic materials sector average of 2.53%. And most impressively, Chevron has a strong record of steady dividend increases stretching back 32 years.

If we turn to the Street we can see that Chevron scores 100% buy ratings from top analysts. The $143 average price target of these analysts suggests 19% upside from the current share price. For example top Cowen & Co analyst Sam Margolin has just reiterated his buy rating with a bullish $160 price target (33% upside potential).  According to Margolin, CVX share weakness creates a buying opportunity.

He says: “CVX has been a two-part story: 1) A rapidly balancing FCF profile; 2) pull forward of Permian asset value. We see progress along those fronts in 2018 accelerating, and it should be relatively easy for investors to keep track of the data outcomes that can drive the stock directionally.”

4. McDonald’s Corp (NYSE:MCD)

Fast food chain McDonald’s recently approved a sizeable payout increase of 7%. This counts as MCD’s 41st straight dividend increase. Following the increase, McDonald’s paid shareholders a $1.01 quarterly dividend in March with a 2.5% yield. As the company website declares: “McDonald’s remains committed to returning excess cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.”

The Street is rallying around McDonald’s right now. As the screenshot below shows, 16 out of 17 analysts are bullish on the stock. With an eye on the new value menu, Jefferies’ Andy Barish reiterated his buy rating and $200 price target (24% upside potential) on March 16. The $1 $2 $3 menu means a roughly 15% price cut for consumers.

He attributes recent share weakness to general market fluctuations and overly high expectations. Crucially Barish still has faith in his 3% gains in U.S. same-store-sales estimate for Q1. So does BMO Capital’s Andrew Strelzik. He sees MCD recording 3% same store sales growth beyond just the first quarter due to its “solid playbook of internal initiatives.”

5. Philip Morris (NYSE:PM)

Last but not least we have Marlboro-maker Philip Morris. Not only does PM pay a high dividend yield over 4%, it also boasts a 10-year dividend growth streak. The company has just made its quarterly dividend payment of $1.07 to PM shareholders.

Looking forward, all cigarette companies face the challenge of declining smoking habits. Luckily PM is now building its future “on smoke-free products that are a much better choice than cigarette smoking.” The result: a strong push towards reduced-risk vapes and e-cigarettes that contain nicotine but don’t burn tobacco. So far the Street appears to approve of this dramatic decision. In the last three months, PM has received only buy ratings. The five analysts covering the stock have an average price target on PM of $122. This suggests big upside potential of 20%.

Indeed, top Cowen & Co analyst Vivien Azer spies big potential for the company’s iQos tobacco heating products. She has a $120 price target on the stock and says: “Excitement around iQos continues to be a hallmark of the PM story, as the company continues to capitalize on their first-mover advantage in HeatNot-Burn.”

Looking for further investing inspiration?

Find your own ‘Strong Buy’ stocks from the Street’s top analysts here

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Harriet Lefton
Harriet Lefton, originally from the UK, began her career as a journalist specialising in the niche world of metal markets. She graduated from the University of Cambridge before becoming a qualified UK lawyer. Now she has turned her attention to the world of financial blogging, covering US stocks, analysts and all manner of things finance-related.

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