Dividend Investing 2016: 2 Stocks to Put on Your Radar

By Markets Fool.com

Outstanding income stocks can sometimes fly under investors' radars. Whether it's a business with a not-yet-familiar brand or a stock that currently yields less than the average dividend payer, investors may bypass high-potential dividend-growth stocks for more typical names -- to their own detriment. But for those who can spot these stocks early, fortunes can be made. In that regard, here are two dividend-growth stocks investors may wish to take note of.

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Image source: Texas Roadhouse.

Beefy dividends
You may not yet have heard of Texas Roadhouse, particularly if you live in a big city. That's because the steakhouse chain focuses mainly on less populated areas that offer lower operating costs and less competition. It's a successful strategy -- one that has Texas Roadhouse starting to pop up on dividend investors' screens.

Texas Roadhouseoffers a little something for everyone. Income-hungry investors can savor its fast-growing dividend, while growth-focused investors will appreciate its impressive share price appreciation.

TXRH data by YCharts

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The steakhouse chain compounds its shareholder's wealth by reinvesting its cash flow into new restaurant openings, which generate more cash, which fund new store openings ... it's a virtuous cycle that can create a fortune for investors over time. Of course that's true only if Texas Roadhouse can remain popular among its patrons. Fortunately, that certainly appears to be the case, with Texas Roadhouse's comparable restaurant sales jumping 6.9% at company-owned restaurants and 7.7% at franchise restaurants in the third quarter.

Additionally, Texas Roadhouse generates more cash than it needs to fund its unit count expansion and dividend payments, so it passes on the excess cash flow to investors in the form of share repurchases, which further help to support a rising stock price.

With so many ways to win and years of strong growth still ahead, investors may wish to consider taking a bite of this wealth-compounding machine.

Image Source: MasterCard.

The credit card titan
Many dividend investors dismiss MasterCard out of hand because of its currently low dividend yield. Don't make that mistake.

MasterCard's yield may be lower than the 2% to 3% that's available from many other dividend stocks, but the credit card giant has raised its payout sharply over the last half decade. In fact, MasterCard just recently increased its dividend by 19% in December. That follows a 45% boost in 2014 and an 83% jump in 2013. Even more impressive is that over the last five years, MasterCard has increased its dividend by more than 1,000% -- albeit from a small base -- while also delivering strong share price appreciation.

MA data by YCharts

Most importantly, with a massive growth opportunity still ahead, MasterCard is poised to deliver many more years of steadily rising dividends and capital appreciation to its shareholders. The company operates one of the largest credit card payment networks in the world across more than 200 countries and territories, which places MasterCard in an excellent position to profit from the global shift toward electronic payments and away from cash transactions.

MasterCard's tremendous scale advantages, powerful network effects, and trusted brand make it unlikely to be displaced by competitors and combine to form a wide protective moat around the payment titan's ever-rising profits. That makes MasterCard one of the lower-risk -- yet still high growth -- dividend stocks available in the market today.

The article Dividend Investing 2016: 2 Stocks to Put on Your Radar originally appeared on Fool.com.

Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends MasterCard. The Motley Fool recommends Texas Roadhouse. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.