Dividend stocks could be among the best investments to be loading up on right today. With falling valuations, stocks that pay dividends are yielding higher amounts than they were in the past. And while some stocks may be risky, there are still plenty of solid income investments out there. One stock that not only looks safe but that also increased its payouts is Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
The top investment management and financial services company has generated nearly $5 billion in free cash flow over the trailing 12 months. The company saw its investment banking revenue decline by 37% in Q1 as there was a drop in M&A activity from the previous year. However, the company's business remains robust as the firm still reported a per-share profit of $2.02 (down just 8% year over year).
The results are strong enough to justify an increase to the dividend. On June 27, Morgan Stanley announced it would be raising its dividend payment by 11% to $0.775 per share every quarter. Today, that translates into a yield of around 4.1%, which is close to three times the S&P 500 average. The company also announced that it would authorize a new share repurchase program beginning in Q3, with an authorization of up to $20 billion. Between dividends and share buybacks, there are multiple ways investors can profit from owning this stock.
Year to date, shares of Morgan Stanley are down more than 22%. However, with strong financials and a dividend that's rising, this could be an opportune time for investors to buy up the stock.