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Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now

A strong start to earnings season helped the S&P 500 Index inch higher over the last week. Several major businesses added to the positive sentiment with announcements of higher dividends.

6 notable dividend stocks increased their payouts over the last week. This included two midstream energy companies, a global manufacturer of home appliances, and a major regulated utility.

Here are top dividend stocks increasing payouts.

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now: Albemarle Corporation(ALB)

Albemarle is the world’s largest lithium producer, and it’s likely to remain in the top spot for the foreseeable future. That’s mostly owed to the company’s enviable assets in South America’s bountiful Lithium Triangle, although the new government of Chile just opened the floodgates by increasing the company’s production quota to 145,000 metric tons (MT) per year. By comparison, total global production was just 215,000 MT last year.  

While the move was somewhat anticipated, the company’s shares haven’t responded. To be fair, Albemarle won’t come close to producing 145,000 MT of lithium in a year in South America anytime soon, nor will it need to. For starters, global demand couldn’t handle that volume. And the Chilean government quota extends to 2043.

Either way, Albemarle is well-positioned to remain a leading lithium stock for years to come. Considering the company’s lithium segment grew sales and adjusted EBITDA 35% and 43%, respectively, from 2016 to 2017, that could be great news for shareholders. The current eye-popping margins enjoyed by lithium producers probably won’t last indefinitely, but most projections call for nearly insatiable demand for the next decade at least. 

Of course, things could deteriorate quickly if that proves wrong. The good news is the company is relatively well diversified compared to peers, with 58% of revenue and 41% of adjusted EBITDA sourced from non-lithium businesses. Therefore, if you want to own a piece of the electrification of transportation and coming-of-age of energy storage — and hedge against potential downside — then Albemarle stock might be the best way to do that.

A close-up of the top of a stainless steel bioreactor.

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now: Microsoft Corporation(MSFT)

Microsoft Replacing Surface Pro 4s in “Flickergate” Resolution

Source: Mike Mozart Via Flickr

 

Microsoft stock is probably not the first investment you think of when it comes to playing the wearables trend. The company was unsuccessful with its own fitness tracker and eventually discontinued the Microsoft Band and admitted defeat.

However, it’s important to note that the smart watches seen on the streets today are only just the beginning and focusing solely on that one aspect of wearables would be extremely shortsighted.

As wearable tech gets more and more advanced, it’s application will stretch beyond just another cool gadget and Microsoft is looking to focus on that part of the wearable space.

The firm partnered with Trekstor to develop commercial wearables that will use cloud connectivity to increase productivity and streamline business activities. Microsoft says the devices could transform everything from inventory management to healthcare by replacing hand-held devices. 

So far we haven’t heard much about this project, but in the year to come I’d expect to see Microsoft capitalize on its strong position in the cloud computing space by offering a line of wearables that links on to Azure and further automate operations. 

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now: Weyerhaeuser Company(WY)

Although it’s easy to conjure up images of clear-cut forests when thinking of timberlands, that’s a horribly inaccurate depiction of the industry. The reality is that timberland management is highly regulated and, because of that, is often a boon to wilderness areas. And when it comes to timberland management, Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) has it down to a science: all of its 12.8 million acres of timberlands are certified sustainable.

That’s been great for business. In 2017 the company generated $4.9 billion in revenue from wood products and another $1.9 billion in timberland management, although both segments contributed about the same earnings: $569 million and $532 million, respectively. Considering wood is one of the most important renewable products on the planet, and the recent upward trend in housing construction in the United States, Weyerhaeuser and its 3.5% dividend yield easily make any list of eco-friendly stocks.

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now: Senior Housing Properties Trust(SNH)

 If you’ve retired, then current income can be the most important thing you need. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) can be good answers to provide solid levels of income, and retirees can understand quite well the reason why a REIT like Senior Housing Properties Trust would be attractive. The business is based on owning and collecting income from leases on medical office buildings, senior living communities, and other real estate that is in high demand from the demographic shifts toward an aging America. As more people retire and need housing that’s tailored to their evolving medical and lifestyle needs, Senior Housing Properties Trust has an immense opportunity to grow and profit.

Right now, Senior Housing Properties Trust carries an impressive dividend yield of more than 10%. That’s raised some eyebrows among investors, some of whom believe that a dividend cut is likely as funds from operations have declined recently. Yet even if the dividend yield falls somewhat from its current double-digit-percentage levels, investors in retirement should still find themselves amply rewarded. Moreover, with the REIT’s shares having lost considerable ground over the past year due in part to fears about rising interest rates, Senior Housing Properties Trust offers a rare bargain that could enhance your overall returns if this retirement-oriented real estate player comes back into favor in the investment community.