Dividend.com analyzes the search patterns of our visitors each week. By sharing these trends with our readers, we hope to provide insights into what the financial world is concerned about and how to position your portfolio.
Cigarette maker Altria has taken the first position in the list this fortnight, as the company trended thanks to its high dividend and relatively stable business model. Second in the list is pipeline and energy company Enbridge, which recently increased its dividend. Devon Energy is third in the list as the company’s variable dividend decreased. Last in the list is Medical Properties Trust, another high-yield stock.
Don’t forget to read our previous edition of trends here.
Altria Declares Quarterly Dividend
Altria (MO) has taken the first position in the list this week for no apparent reason other than its consistently high dividend. Shares in Altria are slightly down this year, but the company’s dividend yields an impressive 8% and has been increasing it for the past 12 years. Last time Altria increased its dividend was this summer by four cents per quarter to 94 cents. Despite the high dividend, Altria’s stock has underperformed in recent years, essentially wiping out some of the gains from dividends.
Altria has received a boon recently after Juul, an electronic cigarette maker in which it owns a 35% stake, reached a truce with around 10,000 plaintiffs. Juul in September agreed to pay around $439 million to settle allegations that it misled customers about the risks posed by its products. Due to the ongoing legal battles, Altria was recently forced to cut the value of its stake from $12.8 billion to just $450 million.
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Enbridge Hikes Dividend
Enbridge (ENB) is second in the list with an advance in viewership of 19%.
The company was in the news after it increased its dividend by 3.2% annually to $3.55, which is the 28th consecutive dividend increase. Enbridge also reaffirmed its 2022 financial guidance for EBITDA to come in the range of $15 billion to $15.6 billion. Next year, the company expects EBITDA to increase to a range of $15.9 billion to $16.5 billion.
Enbridge has benefitted from the ongoing energy crisis, as demand for transportation and storage of natural gas has skyrocketed.
Enbridge shares have risen around 5% over the past 12 months, comfortably outperforming the S&P 500 Index, which fell nearly 15%. On top of that, Enbridge rewarded investors with a dividend yield of 6.7%.
Devon Energy Lowers Dividend
Devon Energy (DVN) has placed third this fortnight with an increase in traffic of 18%, slightly behind Enbridge. Devon Energy has seen its dividend decline for three quarters in a row, as oil prices have cooled, which impacted the company’s free cash flow.
Devon, which pioneered a fixed plus variable dividend pay, declared a total payout of $1.35 per share quarterly, down from $1.55 in the previous quarter. However, given the stock price’s decline in recent months, this still represented a very solid 9% yield.
Devon’s stock has appreciated nine-fold since a low reached at the start of 2020, although it was range-bound for most of 2022 as oil prices stabilized at a lower level, which led to declining free cash flows for oil explorers like Devon.
Medical Properties Trust Continues to Yield High
Medical Properties Trust (MPW) shares the third place in the list with Devon, seeing its viewership advance 18%. Medical Properties, a real estate investment trust that acquires and develops hospital facilities, has been popular because its dividend yields a strong 9.8%.
Although its results improved in the third quarter, with net income rising from $171 million to $220 million, the stock was pummelled. Shares are down more than 23% over the past six months, as the broad sentiment on REITs has soured given rising interest rates.
Medical Properties has been increasing its dividend for the past eight consecutive years. Last time it hiked its dividend was at the beginning of this year, from a quarterly of 28 cents to 29 cents.
The Bottom Line
Altria has trended thanks to its strong and stable dividend yield. Enbridge has increased its dividend as financial results improved due to strong demand for natural gas transportation. Devon Energy’s fixed plus variable dividend decreased due to weakening oil prices. Medical Properties Trust stock underperformed despite improving results.
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