Steep market declines in 2020 have not only been brutal on returns; they’ve also presented income investors with a conundrum. The market is suddenly flooded with a glut of high-yield dividend stocks, but dividends in general are less safe than they’ve been in more than a decade.
The S&P 500 has quickly risen from a yield of 1.8% at the end of December to a yield of about 2.1% today. That’s still not an exciting number, of course. But both inside and outside the index, a number of stocks have seen their yields double, triple or more. That has made it easier than it has been in a long time to find high-yield dividend stocks offering up sizable income of greater than 5%.
At the same time, however, the market has been flooded with a run of dividend cuts. Some companies are watching their profits plunge as people are confined to their homes, creating short-term cash crunches that are forcing them to conserve as much capital as possible simply to survive.
The trick, then, lies in identifying great-yielding names that will be able to maintain their dividends even if this shutdown triggers a prolonged recession.
Here are eight of the safest high-yield dividend stocks right now. These stocks boast several traits that speak to dividend safety, from conservative balance sheets and durable cash flows to histories of maintaining dividends through previous economic downturns.