9 large-cap dividend stocks to own now

These big companies offer stable income to investors.

  • By Jeff Reeves,
  • U.S. News & World Report
  • – 04/11/2019
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For many dividend investors, the wise path to long-term income is based on stability, not high-income potential. And one of the simplest ways to ensure you're investing in stable companies is to focus on the biggest that are the most dominant market forces, even if there may not be as much growth in these mature companies.

But massive stocks with market valuation of more than $100 billion have plenty of other benefits, including entrenched brands and deep pockets that will keep them humming in any environment.

Here are nine income stocks that top the $100 billion mark that also offer generous dividends of 3% or more.

Pfizer

Pfizer is in many ways the poster child for large stocks with scale, stable income and staying power. The company traces its roots to the mid-1800s, and has grown to be a global powerhouse that books more than $50 billion in annual revenue. Its products are essential to the lives of millions around the world. And, PFE has paid uninterrupted dividends since 1980. Pfizer continues to grow by acquiring smaller competitors like a March transaction to purchase gene therapy firm Vivet. These deals and its massive portfolio of proven drugs ensures PFE will remain at the center of pharmaceuticals for many years to come.

Coca-Cola Co.

One brands that defines market force is Coke. That's because this company has an iconic product line plus decades of highly successful marketing to ensure its logo is recognized around the world. Heck, there's even a flavor of antiquing called Cokelore where collectors seek old Coca-Cola machines and signs. This company isn't growing much anymore, however, particularly in the age of healthier eating. But with a market value among the top 30 largest publicly traded U.S. stocks and boasting one of the most entrenched brands on the globe, Coke remains a reliable company with a generous dividend.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

A drink icon of a different stripe, Anheuser-Busch InBev is the brewer behind Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and a host of other beers recognizable both here in the United States as well as in Europe, South America and Asia. When you think beer, BUD's brands are often the first that spring to mind regardless of where you live. As with Coke, legacy beers have a tough road to growth as consumer tastes change. However, with $55 billion in annual revenue and single-digit growth predicted in 2019 and 2020, investors can be confident their money is safe and those quarterly dividends will keep rolling in.

Unilever

From Dove soap to Breyer's ice cream to Lipton teas, Unilever has a proud place in kitchen cupboards everywhere. And as most investors know, consumer staples companies are some of the more reliable stocks. And on top of powerful brands that generate consistent revenue in any environment, Unilever also is a global powerhouse with a storied history. Started in the 1890s, UL now has operations around the world and estimates that in any given day a staggering 2.5 billion people will use Unilever products. That's a simply amazing scale that illustrates this company’s entrenched position.

BP

U.K. energy company BP suffered plenty of monetary penalties after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with claims related to the event hitting around $65 billion in total in 2018. The company’s performance in the wake of that disaster is proof of just how resilient it is. After slashing its payout immediately after the Gulf spill, BP resumed paying a dividend in 2011 and has since raised that payout almost 50%. Share prices have been sluggish thanks to investor skepticism as well as soft crude oil prices in recent years, but BP isn't going anywhere.

BHP Group Ltd.

Lesser-known BHP is not the kind of brand that consumers recognize, but as one of the largest mining conglomerates in the world there are few businesses that this Australia-based company doesn't touch. BHP's portfolio includes oil, natural gas, copper, silver, lead, zinc, uranium, coal and bunch of other minerals. It's difficult to imagine any manufacturer or industrial company that won't need these raw materials in some form or fashion. With operations in Australia, Africa, North America and South America, this diversified miner has the scale and connections to weather any market volatility.

Philip Morris International

Cigarette manufacturing is not exactly a growth industry now that everyone understands the health risks of tobacco smoke, however Philip Morris is a global powerhouse with some of the leading cigarette brands in the world including Marlboro, Parliament and Chesterfield. The company also has invested heavily in its portfolio that serves developing markets in Asia and Africa where smoking is more common. Despite very public opposition in the U.S. and Europe through ads and public smoking bans, PM remains a company that books more than $30 billion in annual revenue and offers investors a generous dividend each quarter.

IBM Corp.

When most investors think about the largest tech stocks, they think of firms like Amazon.com (AMZN) that are part of dynamic trends like e-commerce or cloud computing. However, IBM is a tech powerhouse that's worth a look if you're more interested in big and entrenched players. IBM is more than a century old, manufacturing industrial machinery and then early computers. If you've seen an old black-and-white photo of massive mainframe from the 1950s, chances are it’s one of IBM's machines. The company may not be as dynamic as others, but IBM continues to be a big player in tech with enterprise software and its Watson artificial intelligence solutions.

United Parcel Service

In the age of e-commerce, when the typical American gets almost everything delivered to their door, United Parcel Service is a crucial partner with businesses and customers. With $75 billion in annual revenue and operations in 220 countries, UPS is a vital logistics partner in many areas of the world. And increasingly, the firm is involved in insurance and financing services to help clients do more than ship a package. This all adds up to a stable company that is almost a kind of utility for businesses. And, at twice the size of its rival FedEx Corp. (FDX), UPS is clearly the big dog on the block.

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