10 Best High Dividend Stocks In July 2019 With Safe Yields Up To 10% Sure Dividend

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10 Best High Dividend Stocks In July 2019 With Safe Yields Up To 10%


Updated On July 2nd, 2019 by Bob Ciura

This article examines securities in The Sure Analysis Research Database with:

Note: We update this article at the beginning of each month so be sure to bookmark this page for next month.

With yields between 5% and 10%, these securities all offer high dividends (or distributions). And with Dividend Risk Scores of C or better, they don’t suffer from the usual excessive riskiness of truly high yielding securities.

Stocks with Dividend Risk Scores of A and B were given preference in the top 10 list, to place focus on the highest-quality dividend stocks first.

In other words, these are safe, high yield income stocks for you to consider adding to your retirement or pre-retirement portfolio.

You can download your full list of all 300+ securities with 5%+ yields below to save for future reference.

 

You can also see these 300+ securities in the table below.

Table Of Contents

The 10 highest-yielding securities with Dividend Risk scores of C or better are listed in order by dividend yield, from lowest to highest.

Note: Two stocks were omitted from the list, Inter Pipeline Ltd. (IPPLF) and Enbridge (ENB), as their inclusion would have over-concentrated the list in midstream energy stocks.

 

10. AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

AbbVie is a pharmaceutical giant with over $32 billion in annual revenue. AbbVie was spun off from Abbott Laboratories (ABT) in 2013. Today, AbbVie is a huge company on its own. AbbVie stock has a market capitalization of $108 billion.

Related: The Top 11 Big Pharma Stocks Now, Ranked In Order

AbbVie’s therapeutic areas are centered on Immunology, Oncology, and Virology. AbbVie has had great success as an independent company. Since the spin off, AbbVie generated compound annual revenue growth of 11.7% and adjusted EPS growth above 20% per year.

However, the biggest concern for AbbVie is the increasing competition facing its flagship drug Humira, the best-selling pharmaceutical product in the world. Humira is AbbVie’s biggest seller, by a wide margin, accounting for 41% of the company’s total first-quarter revenue.

Humira is facing biosimilar competition in Europe, and AbbVie has had to significantly cut prices to preserve its market share. This caused Humira revenue to decline by 23% in the international markets last quarter. Fortunately, Humira sales increased 7.1% in the U.S. last quarter. Still, Humira will face biosimilar competition in the U.S. starting in 2023, which poses a continued risk.

AbbVie has addressed this risk by investing heavily in its pipeline. This investment has paid off, as AbbVie has a robust product pipeline. And, AbbVie’s growth will be boosted even further by the recent, transformative $63 billion acquisition of Botox-maker Allergan plc (AGN).

Under the terms of the deal, Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares as well as $120.30 in cash for each Allergan share. The total value of the acquisition was approximately $188.24 per Allergan share, a ~45% premium to Allergan’s closing stock price on 6/24/19. In total, the equity value of the deal is approximately $63 billion.

Allergan has a large product portfolio of its own, including its most well-known product Botox.

ABBV Allergan

Source: Investor Presentation

The acquisition accomplishes a number of strategic goals for AbbVie, such as broadening and diversifying its product offerings by adding exposure to new segments. It also enhances AbbVie’s position in multiple existing categories. The deal instantly makes AbbVie a global powerhouse. The combined company will have annual revenues of nearly $50 billion, based on 2018 results.

ABBV Platform

Source: Investor Presentation

Profit growth will also follow, as AbbVie expects the transaction to be 10% accretive to adjusted earnings-per-share over the first full year following the close of the transaction, with peak accretion of greater than 20%. Moreover, AbbVie expects the return on invested capital of the transaction to exceed AbbVie’s cost of capital within the first full year.

There is also the potential for significant cost synergies, as is often the case with mergers of two large and similar businesses. AbbVie anticipates that the acquisition will provide annual pre-tax synergies and other cost reductions of at least $2 billion by the third year. Synergies will be procured primarily in reducing overlapping R&D, efficiencies in selling, general, and administrative costs, and eliminating redundancies in manufacturing.

Investors should note AbbVie will be more leveraged following the transaction, as a portion of the cash component of the offer will be funded with new debt. AbbVie had $36.6 billion of total debt at the time of its most recent quarterly earnings release.

Fortunately, the company is committed to a Baa2/BBB or better credit rating. AbbVie also issued a new debt reduction target of $15 billion to $18 billion by 2021. Because of this, we do not believe that AbbVie’s debt will rise to troublesome levels following the acquisition of Allergan.

The combined company should be capable of generated $18.5 billion of adjusted net income (AbbVie’s $13.0 billion plus Allergan’s $5.5 billion) in the current fiscal year. AbbVie is issuing 0.8660 AbbVie shares per Allergan share and there are approximately 332 million Allergan shares outstanding, so the merger will create 294 million new AbbVie shares. AbbVie had 1.483 billion diluted shares outstanding at the time of its latest earnings release, so the new share count would be 1.777 billion.

Dividing the pro-forma company’s adjusted net income of $18.5 billion by its estimated share count of 1.777 billion, reveals adjusted earnings-per-share of $10.41.

Since this is significantly higher than AbbVie’s 2019 financial guidance of $8.78 in adjusted earnings-per-share and does not account for any synergies, we believe that the merger will indeed be accretive for AbbVie, especially if the company can achieve its target $2 billion in synergies post-merger.

AbbVie stock has a current dividend yield of 6.3%, a very high yield resulting from both a declining share price and the company’s high rate of dividend growth. AbbVie is a Dividend Aristocrat, and has a highly impressive track record of dividend increases. We believe AbbVie’s dividend is highly secure, as discussed in greater detail in the video below.

 

 

AbbVie has a highly impressive track record of dividend increases. Since the spin-off from Abbot Laboratories, AbbVie has cumulatively increased its shareholder dividend by 168%. We believe the company will continue to raise its dividend each year going forward, thanks to its expected EPS growth and its modest payout ratio of 49% for 2019.

9. Newell Brands (NWL)

Newell Brands is a consumer products company. Its core brands include Rubbermaid, Oster, Sunbeam, Mr. Coffee, Ball, Sharpie, Paper Mate, Elmer’s, Yankee Candle, and Coleman. Newell has a large product portfolio with brands that hold market leadership across their respective categories.

At the same time, the company is involved in a significant turnaround. It had arguably become too bloated in recent years, with too many brands in low-growth categories that weighed the company down. In an effort to become more efficient, Newell is selling under-performing brands that are no longer a part of its future growth strategy.

For example, Newell sold the Waddington and Rawlings brands, as well as Goody Products. More recently, Newell sold its Pure Fishing and Jostens brands for $2.5 billion of after-tax proceeds. It also sold its Rexair and Process Solutions businesses for over $730 million. It may also decide to sell its United States Playing Card Co., and is reportedly seeking bids for the business.

Instead, Newell is focusing on its core brands in which it retains a leadership position.

NWL Brands

Source: Investor Presentation

The impact of these divestitures will reduce sales, but Newell can use the proceeds of the asset sales to reduce debt, buy back stock, and invest in new growth areas. This will help keep the company highly profitable, which fuels its dividends to shareholders.

The company has made notable progress in these efforts. In 2018, Newell’s core sales declined 5.2%, while adjusted earnings-per-share declined just 2.5% to $2.68.

Newell reported Q1 earnings on 5/3/19 and results were stronger than expected, leading to a double-digit rally in the share price as a result of the earnings release. Total sales were $1.7 billion, down slightly from the $1.8 billion from the year-ago period, due to a 3% decline in core sales.

Newell continues to grapple with small declines in core sales and has reiterated its forecast for a low single digit decline in that metric for the full year. Operating income was $15 million in Q1, or 0.9% of sales, compared with an operating loss of 1.5% of sales, or $26 million, in the year-ago period. The gain was due to a reduction in overhead costs that more than offset the impact of foreign exchange, tariffs and inflation.

Total earnings-per-share came in at $0.14 on an adjusted basis, compared with $0.28 in the year-ago period. The company reiterated its guidance for this year and as a result, we’ve kept our estimate at $1.60 in earnings-per-share for 2019.

With a projected dividend payout ratio of 58% for 2019, we expect Newell to maintain its dividend, making it an attractive stock for income investors.

8. Invesco Ltd. (IVZ)

Invesco is a global investment management firm. It has more than 7,000 employees and serves customers in more than 150 countries. Invesco ended the most recent quarter with assets under management, or AUM, of $954.8 billion.

In late April (4/25/19) Invesco reported financial results for the 2019 first quarter. For the quarter, net revenue declined 7.4% from the same quarter last year. Adjusted EPS declined 16.4% year-over-year. AUM declined significantly as 2018 drew to a close, due in large part to global stock market volatility. Fortunately, AUM has recovered in 2019. Through March 31st, Invesco’s AUM has increased 7.5% year-to-date.

IVZ Flows

Source: Earnings Slides

This bodes well for Invesco’s future quarterly results. The company’s recent strategic investments should also help it return to positive EPS growth. Invesco is investing heavily in growth, mainly through acquisitions.

First, Invesco acquired OppenheimerFunds for ~$5.7 billion. The deal was for $4 billion in preferred shares and 81.9 million Invesco shares. This acquisition is expected to boost earnings-per-share by ~18% in 2019. Acquiring OppenheimerFunds will grow Invesco’s AUM to $1.2 trillion, making it the 6th-largest U.S. retail investment management company.

Invesco also acquired the ETF business from Guggenheim Investments for $1.2 billion. Invesco also made a significant investment in financial technology with its acquisition of Intelliflo, a leading technology platform for financial advisors that supports approximately 30% of all financial advisors in the U.K. Overall, we conservatively expect 5% earnings growth annually for Invesco over the next five years.

Invesco ranks well in terms of dividend safety with an expected payout ratio of 53% for fiscal 2019. This should allow the company to continue increasing its dividend on an annual basis going forward. Invesco also has a strong balance sheet, with a credit rating of ‘A’ from Standard & Poor’s.

7. Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD)

Enterprise Products Partners is the largest energy Master Limited Partnership based on market capitalization. Enterprise Products is a midstream MLP, with services including storage and transportation of oil and gas.

Related: 2019 List Of All Publicly Traded MLPs

Its assets include approximately 50,000 miles of pipelines, 260 million barrels of storage capacity for NGL (Natural Gas Liquids), crude oil, and other refined products; and 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage capacity.

On 5/1/19, Enterprise Products reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. Distributable cash flow jumped 18% year-over-year to a record $1.6 billion, providing 1.7x distribution coverage. EBITDA also surged by 17% to $1.63 billion. Meanwhile, gross operating margin overcame headwinds from the temporary closure of the Houston Ship Channel to gain 35% year-over-year. These strong results were largely driven by record volumes in its crude marine terminals and continued robust growth in crude volumes from the Permian Basin (expected to reach 700k bbl/day in 2019).

Future growth will come from new projects. For example, Enterprise Products has started construction of the Mentone cryogenic natural gas processing plant in Texas, which will have the capacity to process 300 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and extract more than 40,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids. The facility is expected to begin service in the first quarter of 2020.

Exports are another growth catalyst. Demand for liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas, or LPG and LNG respectively, is growing at a high rate across the world, particularly in Asia.

EPD Exports

Source: Analyst Conference

Enterprise Products’ total crude oil, NGL, petrochemical, and refined products exports currently exceed 1.6 million barrels per day. The company expects continued growth in export capacity through 2025. Overall, we expect 4% annualized growth from Enterprise Products Partners over full economic cycles.

In terms of safety, Enterprise Products Partners is one of the strongest midstream MLPs. It has credit ratings of BBB+ from Standard & Poor’s and Baa1 from Moody’s, which are higher ratings than most MLPs. It also had a distribution coverage ratio of 1.5x in 2018 and 1.7x in Q1 2019, leaving plenty of room for distribution increases. Enterprise Products has tremendous competitive advantages, primarily its vast network of assets. It would be enormously costly to build out a network of pipelines and terminals large enough to compete with Enterprise Products.

Enterprise Products’ high-quality assets generate strong cash flow, even in recessions. As a result, Enterprise Products has been able to raise its distribution to unitholders for 59 quarters in a row.

6. AT&T Inc. (T)

AT&T is a major telecom with operations in the United States and Latin America. AT&T provides a variety of telecommunications services including video, broadband, and wireless service, along with content platform WarnerMedia and satellite TV provider DirecTV. AT&T generates $170 billion in annual revenue.

In late April (4/24/19) AT&T reported first-quarter financial results. Revenue of $44.8 billion increased 18% from the year-ago quarter, primarily driven by the Time Warner acquisition.

AT&T Summary

Source: Investor Presentation

Adjusted earnings-per-share of $0.86 rose 1.2% from the same quarter a year ago. Revenue growth was heavily offset by rising expenses and a higher share count. AT&T’s core mobility segment grew revenue by 2.9% for the quarter, thanks to 179,000 net postpaid smartphone customer additions during the quarter.

Debt reduction remains a priority for AT&T, in light of the massive acquisitions of Time Warner and DirecTV in recent years. As of the most recent quarter, net debt stood at $169 billion, with a net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 2.8x. The company reiterated its expectation to reduce its leverage ratio to 2.5x by year-end.

AT&T’s major growth catalyst going forward is media content, driven by the $81 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., which owns multiple media brands, including TNT, TBS, CNN, and HBO. Time Warner also owns a movie studio and sports rights across the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA.

The company anticipates free cash flow to be in the $26 billion range, with low single-digit adjusted EPS growth. The dividend payout ratio is anticipated to be below 60% for 2019, which indicates a secure dividend.

Also, AT&T has paid increasing dividends for 35 consecutive years, making the company a member of the exclusive Dividend Aristocrats Index. The Dividend Aristocrats are a group of S&P 500 stocks with 25+ years of rising dividends.

The video below examines AT&T’s dividend safety in detail.

 

AT&T stock combines a high dividend yield with a long history of steady dividend growth, making this Dividend Aristocrat a high-quality stock for income investors.

5. Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP)

Magellan Midstream Partners is an MLP focused on transportation and storage of oil and gas. It has the longest pipeline system of refined products, which is linked to nearly half of the total U.S. refining capacity. This segment generates 59% of its total operating income while the transportation and storage of crude oil generates 34% of its operating income.

MMP Refined Products

Source: Investor Presentation

MMP has a fee-based model; only ~10% of its operating income depends on commodity prices. MMP has a market capitalization of $15 billion.

In early May, MMP reported (5/1/19) financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Its earnings-per-share remained essentially flat over last year’s quarter, as the favorable impact of higher commodity prices was offset by losses in derivative hedges. Nevertheless, MMP grew its distributable cash flow (DCF) by 23%, from $258.9 million to a record level of $318.0 million, partly assisted by a $10.8 million gain from an asset sale.

Thanks to favorable commodity prices and positive trends in crude oil pipeline shipments, management raised its annual DCF guidance, from $1.14 to $1.18 billion, and thus it now expects a distribution coverage ratio around 1.27. Accordingly, we have raised our estimate for the cash flow per share of this year by 3%, from $5.00 to $5.15.

The competitive advantage of MMP comes from its fee-based model, its great scale and its discipline to invest only in high-return projects. MMP has grown its dividend for 67 consecutive quarters and has raised its annual dividend at a 12% average annual rate since 2001. In the latest conference call, management remained confident that the MLP will maintain a distribution coverage ratio of at least 1.2 in the years ahead.

All these facts are testaments to the strength of its business model and its great discipline to invest only in high-return projects. Moreover, management has stated that it does not expect to issue any equity to fund current growth projects. Thanks to its fee-based model, MMP proved resilient during the downturn of the oil market that began in 2014.

Magellan has a high (and growing) distribution. The company recently increased its distribution for the 68th time since its initial public offering in 2001. The 2019 first-quarter payout was 7% higher than the same quarterly payout last year. As a result, Magellan is an attractive MLP for the combination of high yield and high distribution growth.

4. Altria Group Inc. (MO)

Altria Group is a tobacco products giant. Its core tobacco business holds the flagship Marlboro cigarette brand. Altria also has non-smokable brands Skoal and Copenhagen chewing tobacco, Ste. Michelle wine, and owns a 10% investment stake in global beer giant Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD).

Related: The Best Tobacco Stocks Now, Ranked In Order

In late April (4/25/19) Altria reported first-quarter earnings. Revenue, net of excise taxes, declined 6.0% for the quarter, due primarily to falling shipment volumes. Adjusted earnings-per-share declined 5.3% for the first quarter.

Altria’s key challenge going forward will be to generate growth in an era of falling smoking rates. Consumers are increasingly giving up traditional cigarettes, which on the surface poses an existential threat to tobacco manufacturers.

MO Cigarette

Source: 2019 CAGNY Presentation

Fortunately, Altria made significant investments in new product categories, to continue growing in a post-cigarette world. Altria recently announced a $1.8 billion investment in Canadian marijuana producer Cronos Group.

Altria purchased a 45% equity stake in the company, as well as a warrant to acquire an additional 10% ownership interest in Cronos Group at a price of C$19.00 per share, exercisable over four years from the closing date.

Separately, Altria invested nearly $13 billion in e-vapor manufacturer JUUL Labs for a 35% equity stake in the company, valuing JUUL at $38 billion. Altria reaffirmed its guidance for 2019 full-year adjusted diluted EPS to be in a range of $4.15 to $4.27, which would be 4% to 7% growth from 2018.

The video below examines Altria’s dividend safety in detail.

 

Altria receives top marks in terms of safety, due to its competitive advantages. It operates in a highly regulated industry, which significantly reduces the threat of new competitors entering the market. And, Altria’s products enjoy tremendous brand loyalty, as Marlboro controls more than 40% of U.S. retail market share.

Altria is also highly resistant to recessions. Cigarette and alcohol sales fare very well during recessions, which keeps Altria’s strong profitability and dividend growth intact. With a target dividend payout of 80%, Altria’s dividend is secure.

3. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (SKT)

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers is a Real Estate Investment Trust. Tanger operates, owns, or has an ownership stake in a portfolio of 40 shopping centers. Properties are located in Canada and 20 U.S. states, totaling approximately 14.4 million square feet, leased to over 500 different tenants. Tanger has enjoyed sustained high portfolio occupancy for many years.

SKT Occupancy

Source: Earnings Slides

Tanger released 2019 first-quarter results on May 6th, and announced funds from operations (FFO) of $0.57 per share, a decrease of 5% compared with $0.60 per share in the same quarter last year. Although Tanger maintained its high portfolio occupancy at 95.4% in the first quarter, this was still a year-over-year decline from the 95.9% level during the same quarter in 2018. Net operating income (NOI) for the consolidated portfolio declined 0.5% for the quarter. The company also sold four noncore outlet centers for total gross proceeds of $130.5 million during the quarter.

Occupancy is expected to decline somewhat in 2019 to a range of 94.0% to 94.5%, due to anticipated store closures by certain tenants. Fortunately, the company has maintained an occupancy rate of 95%+ for 25 consecutive years.

The dip in occupancy this year will negatively impact the company’s AFFO, but Tanger will still be able to cover its hefty dividend payment.

Tanger has a current dividend payout of $1.42 per share annually, which represents a current yield of 8.6%. This is a very high yield and is clearly attractive for income investors. The biggest concern with a yield this high is sustainability. Fortunately, Tanger appears to have a secure dividend payout.

The company is expected to generate AFFO-per-share of $2.25 for 2019. With an expected dividend payout of $1.47 per share, Tanger’s expected 2019 dividend payout ratio is 65%. This is a manageable payout ratio, which leaves room for modest annual hikes. For example, in February Tanger raised its dividend by 1.4%.

2. Energy Transfer LP (ET)

Energy Transfer is a midstream oil and gas Master Limited Partnership, or MLP. Energy Transfer’s business model is storage and transportation of oil and gas. Its assets have total gathering capacity of nearly 13 million Btu/day of gas, and a transportation capacity of 22 million Btu/day of natural gas and over 4 million barrels per day of oil.

On May 8th, 2019 Energy Transfer reported Q1 results for the period ending March 31st, 2019. The first quarter was a record performance for the company across multiple measures. For the quarter, the company reported $2.8 billion of adjusted EBITDA and $1.66 billion of distributable cash flow, both of which set records for Energy Transfer.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 40% year-over-year, while distributable cash increased 39% from the year-ago quarter, backed by impressive performance across all business segments. NGLs, refined products, and crude segments continued to benefit from rising gas demand. In all, Energy Transfer generated $856 million of distributable cash flow in excess of distributions paid to unitholders in the first quarter.

Energy Transfer has an attractive lineup of new projects which will fuel the company’s growth. For example, Energy Transfer announced it will construct a seventh natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation facility at Mont Belvieu, Texas, with 150,000 barrels per day of capacity. Fractionator VII is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2020 and is fully subscribed by multiple long-term contracts.

The company is also progressing with plans on a Bakken pipeline optimization project, which is expected to start up in 2020. And, Energy Transfer is currently expanding its Permian Express pipeline system by an additional 120,000 barrels per day. The Permian Express 4 expansion is expected to be in-service by the 2019 third quarter.

Growth from project expansions and new projects fuels Energy Transfer’s optimistic outlook for 2019.

ET Outlook

 

Source: Investor Presentation

The company’s new projects will help secure its attractive 8% distribution. Energy Transfer anticipates a distribution coverage ratio of ~1.7x to ~1.9x for 2019, which is better than average for an MLP. In Q1, the company reported distribution coverage of over 2x.

We believe Energy Transfer is capable of delivering distributable cash flow per share of around $2.20 for 2019. Using this estimate, units trade for a price-to-DCF ratio of 6.4. We believe fair value for Energy Transfer is a price-to-DCF ratio of 8, which gives a fair value price estimate of $18.

If the company’s valuation multiple expands to a price-to-DCF of 8 over the next five years, this will boost its total returns by 4.6% per year.

Energy Transfer trades with an 8.6% yield and is likely to compound its per-unit intrinsic value at about 3% per year over full economic cycles. Adding this all together, we believe that Energy Transfer can deliver long-term total returns above 16% per year.

1. Imperial Brands plc (IMBBY)

The highest-yielding stock in the Sure Analysis Research Database with a Dividend Risk score of C or better is international tobacco giant Imperial Brands. Imperial Brands is a tobacco company that was founded in 1901. Today, it is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has a market capitalization of $23 billion.

The company manufactures and sells a variety of tobacco products, including cigarettes, tobaccos, cigars, rolling papers, and tubes. Some of its core brands include Winston, Davidoff, Gauloises, L&B, Bastos, Fine, Gitanes, Kool, Jade, and many more.

IMBBY Overview

Source: 2019 CAGNY Presentation

The company is organized into two operating segments: tobacco and logistics. The tobacco segment includes the manufacture and sale of its various tobacco products, while the logistics segment distributes tobacco to product manufacturers.

Imperial Brands reported first half of fiscal 2019 results on May 8th. Net revenue increased 2.3% mostly due to the core tobacco group. Tobacco revenue grew 2.5% in constant currency as a 6.5% increase in prices offset volume declines. The company increased its cigarette share in the U.S.

Adjusted earnings-per-share declined 1.3% in constant currency as market loss in the e-cigarette category in the U.S. partially offset by cost cuts. Imperial Brands expects revenue to grow at the upper end of its 1%-4% range for the fiscal year and reiterated its expectation for adjusted earnings-per-share.

Like the rest of the tobacco industry, Imperial Brands is struggling with the declining smoking rate in developed economies like the United States. Imperial Brands reported a 3.6% volume decline in fiscal 2018 and 4.5% decline in the first half of fiscal 2019. That said, the company outperformed the broader industry decline of 5.0% for the year.

Imperial Brands’ future growth will be fueled by its next-generation product line. This includes vapor and heated tobacco products, such as its blu brand. Imperial Brands launched the new myblu product in five markets over the first half of 2018—the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Russia—with more scheduled over the remainder of 2018. In addition, the company is developing heated tobacco products with consumer trials planned toward the end of the year.

To help finance its growth investments, the company is launching an aggressive cost reduction program, targeting up to $2.6 billion in cost savings over the next one to two years. We expect 3% annual earnings growth through 2024.

Imperial Brands has a fairly high level of debt, which has eroded its interest coverage ratio. At the end of the second quarter, Imperial Brands had net debt of more than $15 billion. This is especially concerning in a rising interest rate environment, as higher finance costs would reduce earnings growth.

That said, Imperial Brands has multiple competitive advantages. It operates in a highly regulated industry, with high barriers to entry. It also has pricing power due to the addictive nature of tobacco. Another positive for the stock is that the underlying business is highly recession-resistant. Tobacco sales hold up very well during recessions.

Imperial Brands is expected to maintain a dividend payout of $2.45 per share for 2019, which equals an impressive 10% dividend yield at the current share price. The dividend appears secure, with a projected payout ratio of 67% for 2019.

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