UPDATE: This article has been updated to show more recent stock prices and dividend yields.
The end of last week wasn't kind to U.S. stocks, to say the least.
Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 slid more than 2% on Friday, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.5%, despite reaching an all-time peak Wednesday morning.
Stocks across the board were hit hard as investors went into panic mode on fears of an impending interest rate increase.
Considering that the entire market was down on Friday and a number of last week's losers have yet to recover, this is a perfect time to search the rubble for a few buying opportunities.
Even though some of the best blue-chip dividend stocks didn't completely tank last week, the sell-off shows how much rates matter.
These stocks have an average yield near 3% and many years of uninterrupted dividend payments. All were down big last week and are attractive for long-term investors.
Altria isn't well-known to the general public, simply because the company doesn't deal directly with consumers. Instead, Altria manufactures and sells cigarettes and other tobacco products through its holdings such as Philip Morris.
Despite its controversial nature, tobacco is a huge business that is still booming across the globe. It may be addictive and cause a multitude of deadly side effects, but that hasn't stopped people from smoking cigarettes and cigars.
Business has become more difficult for companies such as Altria, as the negative health effects of such products are publicized and have often been followed by new legislation that makes selling tobacco even more challenging.
However, when it comes to human habits, especially tobacco addiction, there is often very little that stands in the way of users purchasing their chosen poison. That being said, Altria should be at less risk than many other companies and is more likely to experience a less powerful impact when the market becomes unstable.
But, that is a long-term perspective. Altria's stock is still vulnerable to irrational panic selling, like what occurred last week.
On Friday, Altria was down 4.3% and finished the week down 5%. That decline isn't representative of the whole picture and shouldn't be the focal point of an Altria stock evaluation.
For more than 30 years, dividend investors have come to rely on Altria for its consistent payout and regular growth.
Altria pays an annualized dividend of $2.26 a share, a yield of 3.87%. The company's dividend has also compounded at an annual rate of 8.2% over the past five years.
2. Apple (AAPL - Get Report)
This company is arguably one of the most famous, recognizable companies on the planet. Credited with a plethora of revolutionary developments and technological advancements that have literally changed the way the world works, Apple is most definitely one for the ages.
However, it is no secret that the technology industry is also one of the most volatile, considering that one of the pillars of that arena is innovation. Technology is one of the only industries where a couple of people can create something in their garage workshop that ends up changing the world forever.
So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Apple stock dropped 2.3% on Friday to end the week down 4.3%. Yet, the fact that Apple has been able to recover those losses and even climb past last week's high water mark is a testament to the strength and durability of the company.
Apple is indeed a tech company, but it isn't like any other. With a market capitalization of nearly $600 billion, Apple has enough weight behind it to weather small passing storms such as last week's.
Finding a tech company that pays consistent dividends isn't always an easy task, given the constant exposure and never-ending competition. However, Apple has been paying a quarterly dividend since mid-2012, and it stands at an annualized payout of $2.28 a share that is good for a yield of 2.04%.
A lot of dividend investors might scoff at the idea of putting a tech company into a dividend portfolio, but Apple's stock isn't in the same boat as most of the others in the industry. Case in point: Much of the world has fallen in love with the iPhone, Apple's iconic device that has come, for many, to symbolize innovation, prestige and wealth.
The fact that people always seem willing to wait in line for hours just for a chance to purchase the newest iThing speaks volumes about the likely stability of Apple's stock.
Read more about Apple's future and dividend.
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3. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM - Get Report)
This agricultural processing company focuses on manufacturing a wide variety of food-based products for both farming and transportation. With the recent push to explore alternative fuel sources, Archer Daniel Midland's biofuel business is positioned well to continue providing necessary ingredients to companies and facilities looking to further that cause.
Archer Daniels Midland trades just above $42, and while the stock has managed to climb out of last week's -4.1% hole, shares are still down 2.5% over the past month.
Bear in mind, however, that Archer Daniels Midland is a $25 billion industry powerhouse that has increased its quarterly dividends for more than 40 consecutive years. Archer Daniels Midland pays an annualized dividend of $1.20 a share, which amounts to a yield of 2.86% and a payout ratio of 48%.
With a forward price-earnings ratio of 15.11, Archer Daniel Midland's valuation appears reasonable, given its status as one of the more reliable dividend-paying companies. So, for investors who have been considering a position in the company, this might be a great chance to get in, as shares are essentially flat over the past year but also up more than 57% over the past five.
4. Colgate-Palmolive (CL - Get Report)
One of the world's largest and most recognizable consumer goods companies, Colgate-Palmolive manufactures and sells a wide array of products across multiple business segments including home care, oral hygiene and personal care. Products are marketed under several brands, and management has expanded sales capability to include more than 200 countries.
Considering the sheer breadth of Colgate-Palmolive's operations, temporary market volatility caused by emotion and fear, rather than concrete evidence of impending negative change, has a minimal effect on the stock. Of course, shares were down 2.9% on Friday and finished the week down 5.4%, but have since begun to recover from last week's market-wide sell-off.
Clorox stock may not be exciting, but for dividend investors that is OK. What it does offer, however, is more than five decades of consistent dividend growth, making it a member of the exclusive group of Dividend Kings.
The annualized payout is $1.56 a share, which is a yield of 2.17%.
Looking long term, Colgate-Palmolive will continue plodding along the same way it has since Jimmy Carter was president. Sure, there may be higher dividend-paying stocks, but investors might be hard-pressed to find one with a 52-year track record of uninterrupted quarterly dividends and yearly increases.
Annualized dividend growth of 10.4% over the past decade isn't too shabby, either.
5. Diageo (DEO)
This company produces and sells some of the world's most well-known alcoholic beverages including Captain Morgan, Guinness and Johnnie Walker. But Diageo didn't escape last week's panic-selling frenzy, and shares sank 2% on Friday, bringing the weekly decline to 4.1%.
The interesting thing about alcohol, though, is that it is one of the strongest industries.
People drink to celebrate, so, when things are going well in the world, alcohol will be there. On the flip side, a great many people drink when things aren't going well.
So, even amid economic volatility, financial crises, natural disasters and plain old doldrums, alcohol will be there as well.
That being said, Diageo might be a dividend stock worth considering. Diageo pays an annualized dividend of $3.19 a share, which is a yield of 2.87%.
Dividends are paid semi-annually, but the high rate is hard to ignore. Diageo's dividend has also grown by 6.5% per year over the past 20 years, more than protecting an investor's purchasing power.
6. General Mills (GIS - Get Report)
This company is a global manufacturer and seller of consumer food products, everything from breakfast cereal to snacks and cupcakes. Products are marketed and sold to retail stores and supermarkets under several well-known brand names such as Betty Crocker, Cheerios and Pillsbury.
For more than 130 years, General Mills has supplied Americans, and now the world, with food products and packaged goods.
In the wake of last week's panic selling, the stock ended the week down 8.3%. Typically, however, General Mills is much more of a recession-resistant stock, and its minimal volatility is directly related to the products that the company provides.
Humans are creatures of habit, and when it comes to buying groceries, this bodes extremely well for a company such as General Mills. People will still buy the historic staple foodstuffs that General Mills churns out, regardless of the state of the economy.
That being said, dividend investors have been able to rely on the company's payouts for more than 117 years, and the stock is a Dividend Achiever. The annualized dividend is $1.92 a share, a yield of 2.93%.
So, despite the recent declines for General Mills, dividend investors should feel comfortable considering the stock and view last week's price drop as a prime buying opportunity.
7. General Motors (GM - Get Report)
The automaker is an American icon, a household name that has become recognized around the world. For more than 100 years, GM has manufactured vehicles of all types and distributed them through 10 world-famous brands including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet.
GM has become a world leader in the automotive industry and continues to develop new technology to improve the efficiency and safety of both commercial and consumer vehicles. Further, GM has been steadily expanding its reach and sales efforts to include foreign geographic regions such as China.
Unlike some other industries and sectors, the automotive industry is more susceptible to economic instability and market volatility. GM has experienced a great deal of pressure and sacrifice in recent years but has thus far endured, with its stock up more than 42% over the past five years.
Last Friday, GM dropped 3.9%, putting the total weekly decline at 4.1%.
It would seem, then, that the vast majority of last week's share price drop can be directly attributed to Wall Street's borderline hysterical fear of the possibility of increased rates. Still, it goes to show that even iconic American manufacturers aren't immune to widespread panic or other types of market risk.
That being said, dividend investors shouldn't necessarily ignore GM stock. The company is establishing a good history of paying timely dividends, which stand at an annualized payout of $1.52 a share and a yield of 4.95%.
With the trials and tribulations GM has survived, coupled with the potential of management's expansion efforts and restructuring actions following the financial crisis, GM could be a solid addition to a dividend portfolio.
8. Home Depot (HD - Get Report)
For all do-it-yourselfers, Home Depot is akin to a kid's favorite toy store. Home Depot is the dominant force in the do-it-yourself arena and has become a household name for everything and anything even remotely linked to home ownership.
In addition, Home Depot has become the favorite of countless construction and building professionals, catering to the needs of those in the industry with unmatched service.
Last Friday's sell-off pulled Home Depot's stock down an additional 2.7%, for a total decline of 5.5% for the week. Shares trade just above $127, which is almost exactly where Home Depot closed on Friday.
Despite the beginnings of what appeared to be a modest recovery yesterday, investors have once again bailed on Home Depot stock.
Don't let this brief period of uncertainty overshadow the long-term benefits of taking up a stake in this DIY goliath. There is no denying that shares have struggled lately, but dividend investors looking for a stable company to provide consistent returns would do well to take a look at Home Depot stock's history.
Since mid-1987, Home Depot has consistently paid dividends, and it sports an annualized payout of $2.76 a share and a yield of 2.19%. There is no doubt that Home Depot's stock will pull out of the muck and return to profitability.
The only question, then, is how much will investors collect in dividends? With a trailing P/E ratio of 21.5 and forward P/E ratio of 17.69, it appears as if analysts have hope for a brighter future or at least higher revenue figures.
9. Philip Morris International (PM - Get Report)
This company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of tobacco products and is most known for its iconic brand of cigarettes, Marlboro. Prior to 2008, Philip Morris International was part of Altria but was spun off to allow for greater flexibility in expanding global sales.
Like other stocks, Philip Morris International fell victim to Friday's sell-off, declining 3.7%.
However, similar to Diageo's ability to survive volatile market conditions, Philip Morris International also has a unique advantage over the rest of the market in that its products are highly addictive. Tobacco' negative health effects have made conducting business in certain regions extremely challenging for Philip Morris International.
With the lax or even non-existent regulation and restriction on tobacco products in certain emerging markets around the world, the company was able to generate revenue approaching $74 billion last year, with a gross profit of more than $17 billion.
Management has consistently returned profit to shareholders in the form of quarterly dividends. The annualized payout is $4.08 a share, with a yield of 4.14%.
Additionally, Philip Morris International's dividend has increased every year since the company went public in 2008.
So, with continued expansion into emerging markets and the fact that Philip Morris International's most popular products are known to be highly addictive, dividend stock investors might want to consider the stock for long-term stability and consistent dividend growth.
Qualcomm isn't a consumer-facing provider, as its products and services are developed on the enterprise level. Primarily, Qualcomm is involved in improving and enhancing wireless communication technology, specifically the CDMA and LTE standards of data transmission.
The company's products, namely microchips and related wireless hardware, exist in countless smartphones and tablets, as well as other Internet-enabled devices.
Despite being the exclusive silicon provider for some of the tech industry's biggest players, Qualcomm shares declined 3.5% on Friday to finish out the week down 4.5%. In the days that have followed, Qualcomm stock has recovered from Friday's price drop, but it is still struggling.
However, dividend investors have long relied on Qualcomm for its steady, reliable quarterly payout, which has continued uninterrupted for more than 13 years. Qualcomm stock carries an annualized dividend of $2.12 a share, which is a yield of 3.44%.
Qualcomm's high yield comes with extraordinary historical growth as well. The company's dividend has compounded by 18.4% a year over the past 20 years and received a 10% boost this year.