Inflation is on a white-hot tear.
U.S. consumer prices surged 7% in December from a year ago, marking the biggest jump since June 1982.
Whether central bankers believe inflation is short-lived, prices are on the rise right now.
To preserve purchasing power, investors usually turn to assets like gold and silver during inflationary times. But dividend stocks are another option.
If a company can provide a rising stream of dividends over time while appreciating in value, that can give you a hedge against inflation.
Of course, due to an extended bull market, most stocks don’t pay much these days. The average S&P 500 company yields just 1.3% at the moment.
But there are companies with much more generous payouts. Here’s a look at three dividend stocks with above-average yields reaching as high as 8.7%.
Bank of America (BAC)
Let’s start with a bank stock. Why? While many sectors fear rising interest rates, banks look forward to them.
Central banks hike interest rates to tame inflation.
Banks lend money at higher rates than they borrow, pocketing the difference. When interest rates increase, the spread for how much a bank earns widens.
And it just so happens that quite a few banks, such as Bank of America, have upped their payouts to shareholders recently.
In July, Bank of America boosted its quarterly dividend 17% to 21 cents per share. That gives the company an annual yield of 1.7% at the current share price.
According to the latest earnings report, the bank earned a profit of $7.7 billion in Q3, up 58% from a year ago.
Even with a recent slide, Bank of America shares have climbed 45% over the past year. Its peers, such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — all of which raised their dividend in 2021 — have also enjoyed substantial rallies during this period.
Southern Co. (SO)
Moving up the yield ladder is Southern, a gas and electric utility holding company headquartered in Atlanta. It serves close to 9 million customers.
The utility sector is known for being a defensive play — and not just against inflation. Come what may, people still need to heat their homes in the winter and turn the lights on at night.
The recession-proof nature of the business means Southern can pay reliable dividends.
In April, the company boosted its quarterly payout by 2 cents per share to 66 cents per share, marking the 20th consecutive year that Southern has increased its dividend.
Look further back, and you’ll see that the company has paid steady or increasing dividends since 1948.
In the first nine months of 2021, Southern earned an adjusted profit of $3.05 per share, up 9.7% year over year. Management expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to be above the top end of their previous guidance range of $3.25 to $3.35.
Trading at $68 apiece, Southern stock offers a solid annual yield of 3.9%.
Global Partners (GLP)
If you really want oversized yields, you may have to look at the lesser-known stocks — like Global Partners.
Structured as a master limited partnership, Global Partners is one of the largest independent owners, suppliers and operators of gas stations and convenience stores in the Northeast.
At the same time, it is a leading wholesale distributor of fuel products and is involved in transporting petroleum products and renewable fuels by rail from the mid-continental U.S. and Canada.
The business pays quarterly distributions of 57.5 cents per unit, which comes out to a staggering annual yield of 8.7%.
In the trailing 12 months as of Sept. 30, Global Partners’ distributable cash flow covered its payout 1.1 times after factoring in distributions to its preferred unitholders.
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