10 Dividend Stocks That Keep Paying You More and More and More

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Not all dividend stocks are created equal. Some are more of a sure thing than others.

There is perhaps no surer income bet than the dividend aristocrats. These companies, which have paid and increased dividends every year for more than 25 years, are sort of the creme de la creme in dividend investing.

It seems like anything is possible in the current market environment, and it may be time to go shopping for safe dividend picks. Here are 10 S&P 500 stocks with a yield of 3% or higher that aren't likely to let you down with their quarterly payouts.

HCP


According to its Web site, HCP  (HCP) was the first health care real estate investment trust selected to the S&P 500 and the only REIT included in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index. Its dividend yield is 6.00%.

HCP's portfolio stretches across various segments within health care, including senior living, life sciences and hospitals. On Monday, Jeffries Group restated its hold rating on the stock and $40 price target. The company paid its most recent cash dividend of 56.5 cents on May 26.

TheStreet Ratings team rates HCP as a hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings team has this to say about its recommendation: 

"We rate HCP (HCP) a hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:
  • HCP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for HCP INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.55%. Regardless of HCP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HCP's net profit margin of -38.53% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 192.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $259.11 million to -$240.61 million.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, HCP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: HCP Ratings Report

AT&T


AT&T's (T) dividend isn't what has had investors talking lately. Instead, many have been looking at its impending acquisition of satellite television company DirecTV (DTV). Announced in May 2014, the deal appears to be on track to receive approval from the FCC.

However, its dividend is worth noting as well, with a yield of 5.4%. AT&T made its last quarterly payment of 47 cents on May 1 and last increased its payout by one cent in late 2014.

TheStreet Ratings team rates AT&T INC as a buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate AT&T (T) a buy. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings team include:

  • T's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for AT&T INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.24%. Regardless of T's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 9.82% trails the industry average.
  • AT&T INC's earnings per share declined by 12.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AT&T INC reported lower earnings of $1.19 versus $3.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.53 versus $1.19).
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income has decreased by 12.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $3,652.00 million to $3,200.00 million.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.12, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 0.48 is very low and demonstrates very weak liquidity.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: T Ratings Report

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