2 Stocks That Cut You a Check Each Month

By Eric Volkman Markets Fool.com

It's safe to say that most investors like receiving dividends. Since public companies report on a quarterly basis throughout the year, most that offer dividends make distributions on a similar timetable -- once per quarter.Most, but not all. There are a relative handful of companies that just can't wait that long to pay out their money. Here are two noteworthy ones that distribute dividends every month.

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Realty Income

Talk about commitment. Real estate investment trust Realty Income (NYSE: O) not only brands itself "The Monthly Dividend Company" but it's gone so far as to trademark the slogan.

It's a fine example of truth in advertising. Realty Income has been spitting out a distribution since its 1994 IPO, and that payout has risen appreciably over the decades. Last year, the REIT's investors collected an annual tally of just over $2.29 per share, more than double the $0.93 it paid out in 1995.

Realty Income's core specialty are retail properties, which comprise around 80% of its portfolio. The remainder consists of other business real estate such as office buildings, industrial spaces, and agricultural properties. All told, the REIT holds over 4,700 properties, and its most recent end-of-quarter occupancy rate is a stellar 98%-plus.

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Due to the popularity of online shopping and determined competition from discounters, the retail sector has had its struggles lately. Realty Income protects itself by trying to lease to businesses that can't be affected by this, like gyms, movie theaters, and convenience stores. There is a strong likelihood of one or several interest rate hikes from the Fed in the near future -- which then raise a REIT's cost of borrowing, plus make rival assets like bonds more attractive. These factors have combined to drive down the share prices of REITs, including that of Realty Income.

But on a fundamental basis, the company is doing fine. In its most recently reported quarter, it managed to grow total revenue by 7% to just over $277 million. Funds from operations -- the most important profitability metric for REITs -- rose by 13% to nearly $187 million.

Realty Income is a good REIT, and that recent share price swoon has driven up its dividend yield. The company's most recent monthly payout was just over $0.20 per share, which yields 4.3% at the most recent closing share price.

Enerplus

For investors with a bigger appetite for risk, there's Canada-based oil and natural gas companyEnerplus Resources (NYSE: ERF). It's a play for better times in the industry. If you're a believer in the eventual recovery in oil prices, this could be a very compelling stock.

Those prices, of course, have had a withering effect on the sector. The cost of a barrel of oil started to collapse in mid-2014 and has only fitfully recovered since then.

Like its peers, Enerplus has been hit hard by this development. Total production and revenue were both down by nearly 20% on a year-over-year basis in Q3. The company's bottom line has been in the red since the oil price slide took hold, and it hasn't posted a profit since its Q4 2014. The dividend has also been eviscerated, falling from roughly $0.09 per share at this time four years ago, to the present amount of less than $0.01.

Yet there are reasons for hope. Those net losses aren't as gruesome as they once were -- the Q3 deficit of almost C$101 million ($75 million) was the narrowest within this recent streak of red numbers.Also, the company's long-term debt has fallen substantially, declining by 42% this past Q3 to around C$700 million ($520 million).

Going forward, the company's forecasting an encouraging 15% growth in total liquids production for fiscal 2017. If that happens, Enerplus' finances across the board should improve nicely. Perhaps it'll even get that dividend heading north again.

At the moment, Enerplus is paying a monthly distribution of C$0.01 ($0.007) per share. This is quite likely to rise if the company claws its way back to or approaches profitability. The current payout yields 1.1%.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.