Microsoft Is the Best Dividend Stock on the Fortune 500
Last year’s best-performing Fortune 500 stocks had something in common: They didn’t pay dividends. The top two companies, Netflix nflx and Amazon.com amzn (up 134% and 118%, respectively, in 2015), were the epitome of momentum stocks that, until recently, were all the rage with investors—stocks to own because they were on a hot streak, not stocks to rely on for long-term growth and security.
Since then, though, last year’s winners have stumbled: Netflix shares are down more than 17% year to date, and while Amazon’s stock has recovered recently (up 6% for the year), it was down as much as 24% amid market volatility earlier this year. Both stocks have underperformed slower-growth dividend-paying companies like Johnson & Johnson jnj (up 14%) and Cummins cmi (up 29%) as investors have sought safety in such “predictable growers,” says Franklin Templeton’s Don Taylor. “I would make an argument that that will continue—I don’t see that catalyst changing,” he adds.
With that in mind, we screened the Fortune 500 to find the best dividend stocks to buy now—companies that had yields greater than the S&P 500 average of 2.15%, and that had increased their dividends at a rate of 10% or more for at least the past three years (because dividend growth stocks have a history of beating the market over time).
We asked investing pros for help whittling down the 89 companies that survived our screen to those whose shares were still somewhat cheap relative to their potential, and came up with a compelling list of five quality stocks that offer value, security, and yes, even growth. After all, “The majority of companies in the Fortune 500 are likely to be around in 10, 20 years from now,” says John Buckingham, chief investment officer of Al Frank Asset Management. Here are the best ones to buy now. (Visit our new Fortune 500 list to learn more about these firms and the rest of America’s biggest companies.)