With the markets likely to stay volatile during 2023, playing defensively remains a solid strategy to ride out this tough investing environment. One way you can implement such a strategy is by increasing your exposure to dividend-paying large-cap stocks.
If you’re seeking safe harbors, plus the opportunity for long-term capital growth, these types of stocks fit the bill. The companies in this category are by-and-large venerable, established enterprises. They are well-positioned to continue paying out their current dividends, perhaps even increasing their payouts.
These payouts provide a steady baseline of returns, in up and down markets. Beyond their appeal as income plays, these stocks also offer strong appreciation potential, when the stock begins to make a recovery.
So, what are the best dividend-paying large-cap stocks to buy right now? Consider taking a closer look at these seven. Each of these stocks has a forward dividend yield of at least 3%, offering gradual growth potential over a long time frame.
|PM||Philip Morris International||$101.44|
|UPS||United Parcel Service||$182.95|
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
If you’re looking for yield, value, and growth, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) is a great choice. Currently, this large-cap pharma stock sports a forward dividend yield of 3.2%. With six years of consecutive dividend growth, BMY has increased its payout by an average of 6.88% annually over the past five years.
Indeed, BMY stock is arguably undervalued. Shares trade for just 9.4-times forecasted earnings for 2022. That’s slightly lower than other large-cap pharma stocks, which trade for between 10- and 15-times forward earnings. This valuation may also be too low, given the company’s projected future earnings growth.
According to UBS analyst Keith Parker, Bristol-Myers Squibb is expected to report compounded annual earnings per share (or EPS) growth of 13% over the next three years. Even if BMY maintains its current multiple, shares could still steadily climb higher, in tandem with higher earnings.
Dow Inc. (DOW)
If you’re looking for one of the dividend-paying large-cap stocks with higher yields, consider Dow Inc. (NYSE:DOW). Shares in this chemicals company have a forward dividend yield of 5%. Yes, this company has not raised its dividend since it was spun off from DuPont (NYSE:DD) in 2019.
However, with a payout ratio of only 35.4%, its 70 cent per share quarterly payout is likely sustainable. Along with an above-average dividend yield, DOW stock also trades for just 8.8-times estimated 2022 earnings. Although earnings are expected to drop in 2023, even when you take this into account, DOW remains more-than reasonably-priced, at 13.1-times forward earnings.
Furthermore, if energy prices (which have pressure on Dow’s margins) ease during 2023, the company’s earnings could come in ahead of expectations. With all this in mind, high-yield, low-priced DOW stock is a great choice for value-minded investors.
As a recession looms, you may be questioning the merits of buying Ford (NYSE:F) stock today. However, while the post-pandemic boom times for automakers are now in the rearview mirror, and excitement over this “old school” car company’s move into electric vehicles (or EVs) has waned, Ford is still worthy of a buy.
Why? First, even if earnings drop this year, they’ll likely be sufficient to maintain Ford’s current dividend, which was reinstated in 2021. Sell-side forecasts call for EPS of $1.71. The company’s current payout is 15 cents per quarter, or 60 cents per year (giving F stock a 4.5% forward yield).
Also, despite fading “EV mania,” the vehicle electrification trend isn’t going away. Reporting strong EV sales during 2022, as it continues to successfully increase its presence in this fast-growing area of the auto market, excitement for F stock could rev back up again.
Philip Morris International (PM)
Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) is the world’s largest publicly-traded cigarette maker by market cap. However, Philip Morris, whose legacy business is the non-U.S. operations of its former corporate parent, Altria Group (NYSE:MO), is embracing a smoke-free future.
That is, the Marlboro maker has made major progress bringing out non-combustible tobacco products, namely its IQOS heated tobacco product. PM is also increasing its exposure to the smokeless tobacco and nicotine products segment of the industry, with its purchase of Swedish Match (OTCMKTS:SWMAY).
The company’s aggressive moves to adapt to changing tobacco use trends could help it sustain (and continue to grow) its high dividend. PM stock currently has a forward yield of 5%, and a 14-year track record of dividend growth. Since the spinoff from Altria in 2008, Philip Morris has raised its quarterly dividend by more than 235%, from 54 cents to $1.27.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) shares have floundered over the past year. This makes sense, given the challenging and uncertain economic climate. However, with shares in the package transportation company trading for only 14.7-times estimated 2023 earnings, the impact of an economic slowdown may already be baked into its valuation.
As InvestorPlace‘s Alex Sirois recently argued, UPS remains a dominant company in the logistics industry, with a strong future. Once there’s an economic and stock market comeback, UPS stock will more-than-likely make a comeback as well. In the meantime, you can be paid to wait for a rebound, via UPS’s 3.3% dividend.
While not the highest yield among the dividend-paying large-cap stocks, UPS has a solid dividend growth track record. The company has raised its payout 13 years in a row. Over the past five years, UPS’s dividend has gone up by an average of 12.86% annually.
U.S. Bancorp (USB)
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) is one of America’s largest financial institutions. Like other bank stocks, worries about the economy have put pressure on shares over the past year.
However, USB stock has been trending higher more recently, and it could keep climbing. If recession worries ease, and higher interest rates result in earnings growth in 2023 (as expected per sell-side forecasts), investors could continue to dive back into the stock. Increased profitability resulting from higher interest rates is also a big positive when it comes to future dividend growth.
USB already has a fairly high dividend. At current prices, the stock’s forward yield comes in at 4%. However, if earnings keep climbing, so too could USB’s quarterly payout. U.S. Bancorp raised its dividend by 13.5% in 2019, and by 9.5% in 2021. A similarly-sized increase may be in the cards this year.
Verizon Communications (VZ)
It’s not inaccurate to say that telecom stocks like Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) have been “dividend traps” over the past year. A 6.2% payout (VZ’s forward yield) doesn’t look too appealing, when you weigh it against the stock’s 22.1% price decline over the past year.
But while VZ stock has generated negative total returns over the past twelve months, things could play out a whole lot differently moving forward. In fact, shares in this major telecom company have already begun to bounce back, making a double-digit move higher in the past month, thanks to promising statements about subscriber growth made by CEO Hans Vestberg.
Trading at a heavily-discounted 8.1-times estimated 2022 earnings, if Verizon can deliver better-than-expected results, shares could continue to climb back near prior price levels. Even a partial recovery, coupled with its high-yield payout, could produce fantastic total returns in 2023, for investors buying today.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel held MO. He did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.