Three High-Quality Dividend Stocks to Load Up On in April

Dividend stocks are poised to do well this year. With Jefferies projecting a notable acceleration in dividend growth in the United States to 6.2% from the previous year’s 3.9%, it’s clear that dividends are making a strong comeback. This resurgence is particularly noteworthy against the backdrop of the past two decades, where stock buybacks dominated the scene as the primary method for companies to return value to shareholders. Yet, dividends have steadfastly held their ground, contributing significantly to total returns—a testament to their enduring value in an investor’s portfolio.

The landscape for dividends is evolving, driven by a shift towards more sustainable financial practices. As the cost of debt climbs, leading to a reduction in stock buybacks, companies find themselves with enhanced free-cash-flow cover, paving the way for a renewed focus on dividend growth. This shift is not just a financial necessity but a strategic move to attract investors seeking stable and reliable returns in a landscape marked by uncertainty.

In this context, high-quality dividend stocks emerge as a beacon for savvy investors. The criteria for selection are stringent, focusing on top-tier U.S. companies with a market capitalization exceeding $5 billion and a forward dividend yield surpassing the regional median. These companies are not just large; they are also highly profitable, with impressive returns on equity and investment capital. As we navigate through the year, these three high-quality dividend stocks stand out for their potential to deliver not just steady income but also a promise of growth, making them a must-watch for those looking to fortify their portfolios with resilient and rewarding investments.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) – A Pick with Appetizing Dividends

Darden Restaurants, the powerhouse behind some of your favorite dining spots, is serving up more than just delicious meals; it’s dishing out a 3.3% 12-month forward dividend yield that’s sure to catch the eye of dividend hunters. With the stock up 4.5% this year and a nearly 19% increase in 2023, Darden is proving to be a resilient player in the volatile restaurant industry.

Analysts give Darden an overweight rating, seeing a modest but solid 4% upside to the average price target. This optimism is not unfounded. The company is on the brink of revealing its fiscal third-quarter financial results next week, riding high on the back of fiscal second-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations. While revenue didn’t quite hit the mark last quarter, Darden’s decision to raise its full-year earnings guidance signals a confident outlook on its financial health and operational efficiency.

Let’s not forget the cherry on top: in June, Darden turned up the heat on its shareholder returns, increasing its dividend by 8% to $1.31 per share. This move is more than just a number adjustment; it’s a testament to Darden’s commitment to rewarding its investors and its belief in the company’s continued growth.

For those looking to spice up their investment portfolio with a stock that combines a robust dividend yield with potential for capital appreciation, Darden Restaurants offers a compelling blend of stability and growth prospects. As we await the latest earnings report, Darden stands out as a flavorful pick in the high-quality dividend stock menu.

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) – A Semiconductor Powerhouse with a Growing Dividend

With the largest market cap on our high-quality dividend stock list, Broadcom isn’t just a big player; it’s a giant in the semiconductor industry. Sporting a 1.6% 12-month forward dividend yield might not turn heads at first glance, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Earlier this month, Broadcom delivered a one-two punch with a revenue and earnings beat for its fiscal first quarter, not to mention its full-year revenue guidance, which hit the mark perfectly with analysts’ expectations. But here’s the kicker: in December, Broadcom decided to sweeten the deal for its investors by boosting its dividend by 14% to $5.25 per share. Now, that’s a move that signals confidence if I’ve ever seen one.

Wall Street seems to be singing Broadcom‘s praises, tagging it with an overweight rating and eyeing a 21% upside to the average price target. And let’s not overlook the impressive performance of its shares, which are up nearly 13% this year alone, following a near doubling in 2023. In a world where consistency is king, Broadcom stands out not just for its robust financial performance but also for its commitment to rewarding shareholders. This stock isn’t just about riding the semiconductor wave; it’s about investing in a company that knows the value of giving back to its investors.

Procter & Gamble (PG) – Steady Growth in Consumer Staples

Procter & Gamble, a stalwart in the consumer packaged goods sector, has been showing some impressive momentum this year, with shares up 10% year to date. Known for its robust portfolio of everyday products, PG stands out with a 12-month forward dividend yield of 2.5%, a testament to its commitment to shareholder returns.

The company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings report in January presented a mixed bag, with adjusted earnings per share exceeding expectations, despite revenue that didn’t quite hit the mark. However, it’s the consistency and resilience of Procter & Gamble that catches the eye. In April, the company demonstrated its confidence in its financial health and future prospects by increasing its dividend payout by 3%.

Investing in Procter & Gamble is more than just putting money into a company; it’s about buying into a legacy of reliability and steady growth. With its solid dividend yield and a track record of navigating through market ups and downs, PG represents a cornerstone investment for those looking to build a portfolio with a balance of growth and income. As we move forward, Procter & Gamble‘s ability to adapt and innovate within the consumer staples sector makes it a compelling pick for dividend-focused investors seeking stability in their investments.


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