We've had almost a decade of record-low interest rates. But, finally, income investors can look toward things as simple as money market accounts for decent -- and safe -- returns.
That being said, there are still high-yield stocks worth buying. Below, three of our Motley Fool contributors tell you why shares of Enviva Partners (NYSE: EVA), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) are worth considering.
Wood pellets to keep your nest egg warm in the winter
Brian Stoffel (Enviva): For the longest time, wood pellets were the primary feed for northeastern U.S. homes outside of major cities -- and that was it. But the times have changed, and with greenhouse gas restrictions taking place in Europe and Asia, power companies are looking for greener alternatives while they work on bringing solar, wind, and water to scale.
Enter wood pellets, which have the density to power these plants, and less emissions to help the utilities meet their goals. Enviva, with operations in the American Southeast, has created the infrastructure to meet these needs. That includes processing centers close to rail lines, deep-water ports for transport around the world, and long-term contracts with major power companies.
Right now the company is in a bit of a pinch: A fire at one of its ports has caused a slowdown, which puts a vise on distributable cash flow (DCF) for a dividend. That said, management still expects to pay out $2.53 per share this year -- which is good for an 8.2% yield at today's prices.
Most important for investors to watch will be the company's coverage ratio, which measures how much of the dividend is covered by DCF. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, it is at 0.73, which means that only 73% of the payout came from DCF. That's a result of the fire, and it's not sustainable. For the quarter, however, it stood at 1.14, meaning there was DCF left over after paying the dividend in the most recent quarter. That's a great sign for long-term investors.
Texas Instruments' sell-off is an opportunity
Jamal Carnette, CFA (Texas Instruments): It's been a rough few months for semiconductor companies, including Texas Instruments. Shares of the analog chipmaker are now 10% lower year to date. High-yield investors may want to take advantage of the recent sell-off.
Texas Instruments' 3.3% yield may not initially seem impressive -- although it's noticeably higher than the S&P 500's 1.9% yield -- but the company's total cash return is very much so. Over the last four quarters management has repurchased approximately $3.8 billion in shares, equal to 4.2% of its current market capitalization.
This 7% cash return is no fluke. Texas Instruments has one of the most shareholder-friendly management teams and is committed to returning all free cash flow to shareholders in the form of dividends and/or stock buybacks.
On its investor relations website, Texas Instruments notes it has lowered its outstanding shares by 44%, increased dividends for 15 straight years, and has grown free cash flow 8% every year since 2004. Look for Texas Instruments to continue to return cash to investors at a furious pace for years to come.
Ignore the advance, buy for the yield
Nicholas Rossolillo (Verizon): Shares of America's biggest mobile provider have finally gained some traction in 2018 after years of underperforming the stock market. Verizon stock is up 14% year to date as of this writing, driven by its continued strength in adding new subscribers and corporate tax reform passed at the end of 2017 that has boosted profits in a big way.
After spending a few years acquiring high-profile media assets AOL and Yahoo! for billions of dollars, Verizon has finally decided to get back to what it does best: mobile networking. The result? Verizon was the first to market with a next-generation 5G network product, an ultrafast and low-latency (the time it takes for data to travel between two points) broadband internet service for home use.
Verizon's 5G Home is available in only four markets so far, and mobile networks for phones won't start launching until 2019. The company is getting aggressive with its deployment plans, though. Most recently on that front, Verizon announced it was purchasing software assets from a company called Vidder to boost its cybersecurity protection capabilities. That's further proof that Verizon isn't just a phone company anymore -- 5G and all the supporting technology is about hooking everything up to the mobile internet.
That could help put Verizon at the forefront of the next wave of innovation -- networks that support things like virtual reality, self-driving cars, smart cities, and connected industrial equipment. Plus, even after the stock's run-up this year, it's still priced attractively with a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 12.8 and a 4.1% dividend yield. Not too shabby for a potential future leader in the tech industry.
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Brian Stoffel owns shares of Enviva Partners. Jamal Carnette, CFA owns shares of Texas Instruments. Nicholas Rossolillo owns shares of Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool owns shares of Texas Instruments. The Motley Fool recommends Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.