What's more important to you as an investor: current yield or dividend growth?
No matter your answer, the beverage industry can help you find what you're looking for. Read on to learn more about two of the best dividend stocks available in the market today -- including one that offers a sizable current yield and another that should continue to rapidly increase its payout in the years ahead.
The beer king
Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) is the 800-pound gorilla of the beer industry. After its $100 billion acquisition of its former rival, SABMiller, AB InBev now controls nearly 30% of the global beer market. The combined company has a portfolio of more than 500 beers including seven of the top 10 global beer brands and 18 brands that generate more than $1 billion in retail sales.
AB InBev is the world's first truly global brewer, with leading market positions in virtually every major beer market. And while beer consumption growth has recently been tepid in developed markets such as North America, the merger with SABMiller gives AB InBev a stronger position in high-growth developing regions, particularly in Africa.
Moreover, AB InBev doesn't require much in the way of volume growth to deliver higher revenue and profits in the coming years. The company's "premiumization" strategy -- in which it more aggressively promotes its higher-priced brands -- is leading to increases in average selling prices; revenue per hectoliter rose 3.2% in the second quarter, even as total volumes increased only 1%. Additionally, the company captured $335 million in synergies and cost savings related to its merger with SABMiller in Q2, and it remains on track to realize its long-term goal for achieving $2.8 billion in total cost synergies.
In turn, higher prices and a lower cost structure are helping to drive margin expansion; Second-quarter EBITDA margin improved by 238 basis points, to 37.7%. Management is committed to passing on these rising cash profits to shareholders in the form of a bountiful 3.2% dividend. Importantly, the $3.90 per share that the company expects to payout to investors should be well-secured by the $4.14 analysts expect it to generate in earnings per share in 2017 and the $5 it's projected to deliver in 2018.
All told, investors can buy shares in this dominant beverage company today at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 24 based on analysts' estimates for 2018 -- a relative bargain considering its nearly 22% projected EPS growth rate over the next half-decade.
The coffee titan
While Anheuser-Busch InBev provides a sudsy current dividend yield, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) offers investors the prospect of tantalizing dividend growth.
The coffee giant's highly profitable cafes produce steadily growing streams of cash flow that can be reinvested into building new stores, which produce even more cash, and so on. It's a virtuous cycle that has compounded the wealth of Starbucks' investors for a quarter century, and that will likely continue to do so for many years to come.
Like AB InBev, Starbucks is committed to returning a sizable portion of its copious cash flow to shareholders. In fact, the company has increased its payout fivefold since it began paying a dividend in 2010.
Starbucks' tremendous international expansion opportunities and thriving consumer packaged goods business should continue to fuel solid increases in revenue and profits. Wall Street seems to agree, with analysts forecasting a 15% long-term EPS growth rate for the company. And with Starbucks still paying out only about 50% of it earnings, investors can expect more caffeinated dividend raises in the years ahead.
As such, with this high-quality business currently yielding a respectable 1.8% and trading at a forward P/E of only 23, income investors may wish to perk up their portfolio with some shares of this dividend growth dynamo.
Find out why Starbucks is one of the 10 best stocks to buy now
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