Stocks with yields north of 6% should invite skepticism. After all, a company's stock that falls out of favor could just be a sign that the payout is headed for a cut. When getting in on a high-yield dividend stock, investors should always do their due diligence to make sure that the stock they plan to buy can continue to make payments to investors.
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Three stocks with a yield above 6% that look compelling today are solar power yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners (NASDAQ: CAFD), LNG exporter Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSEMKT: CQP), and wood pellet producer Enviva Partners (NYSE: EVA). Here's a quick look at these three stocks and why they could be a good fit for your portfolio.
Parent company fears don't impact current contracts
When 8Point3 Energy Partners' parent organizations -- SunPower and First Solar -- announced that they would look to sell their stakes in the yieldco to focus on manufacturing instead of project development, Wall Street wasn't a fan of the news. The fear is that without these parent organizations to provide projects and alternative financing such as private share issuances, 8Point3's prospects would be dubious at best.
Yes, the company's previous growth strategy isn't on the table anymore, and it will likely need to go to either the public equity or debt markets to fuel future growth. While this may alter the rate at which the company can grow, it doesn't change the fact that its current payout is supported by long-term contracts that ensure a relatively stable cash stream for years to come. The most significant risk to its current payout isn't its operations. Rather, it's the possibility that it could be sold to another company or yieldco that has a lower dividend yield.
If 8Point3 Energy Partners has to venture out on its own because a buyer doesn't materialize, then chances are its growth rate would be considerably lower than what it is today. However, at today's yield, a slower growth rate still translates to a decent return.
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Doing exactly what it said it would do
It always feels a bit strange when a company does what it said it was going to do for years, and the market seems to be surprised when it happens.
For the past four years, Cheniere Energy Partners has made no secret about the construction schedule for its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, or the fact that several subordinated shares would start to vest once its third liquefaction train came online.
Today, Cheniere Energy Partners has three of its liquefaction trains fully operational, with a fourth complete and under commissioning. This means it has met its obligations for cash generation that will lead to higher distribution payments. Management even thinks it can start to raise its payout this year for the first time in over a decade.
Even though Cheniere's management has been telegraphing this for years, Cheniere Energy Partner's stock still trades at a distribution yield of 6%. With train four almost complete, train five well on its way, and talks for additional trains in the works, now is probably one of the more opportune times to look at Cheniere Energy Partners.
An alternative approach to alternative energy
Solar and wind power have taken up much of the limelight when it comes to alternative energy, but one other energy source is garnering increasing interest: Biomass. Burning biomass like wood pellets is emerging as a cheap power alternative for places that were once heavily reliant on coal and where wind & solar aren't as economically viable. In some cases, wood pellets can be a drop-in solution to replace coal as a lower-cost and lower-carbon emission (the carbon lifecycle of wood pellets can reduce carbon emissions by more than 80% compared to coal).
Countries in Northern Europe and East Asia are turning to wood pellets as a power source, and that is making for an incredible opportunity for wood pellet producers in the U.S. such as Enviva Partners. Like the discrepancy in natural gas prices that made Cheniere Energy Partners' LNG export facility a reality, Enviva Partners is looking to take advantage of similar price discrepancies in wood pellets around the world.
Today, Enviva is the world's largest publicly traded processor and exporter of wood pellets, which it sells under fixed-price contracts that cover 100% of production capacity for the next decade. That puts Enviva's current distribution -- which yields 7.9% today -- on pretty secure footing. As long as management doesn't try to grow its business and payout at a clip too fast for its balance sheet, this could be a high-yield gem for investors.
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