Restaurant Brands International Inc (QSR)

A spicy chicken sandwich from Popeyes fast food restaurant.
Tony Prato/Shutterstock

Leading off the list is Restaurant Brands International, a fast-food holding company formed in 2014 by the merger between Burger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons.

In 2017, the company added Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen to its portfolio.

Like most restaurant stocks, Restaurant Brands shares tumbled during the pandemic-induced market sell-off in early 2020. But the stock has since made a strong recovery.

That rebound is backed by substantial improvements in the company’s business. According to the latest earnings report, same-store sales — a key measure of a retailer’s health — increased 27.6%.

Adjusted earnings came in at $0.77 per share for the quarter, more than double the $0.33 per share it earned in the year-ago period. The amount also covered the company’s quarterly dividend payment of $0.53 per share with ease.

Restaurant Brands is offering a healthy annual dividend yield of 3.4%, which is a return investors can earn even if they're investing with spare nickels and dimes.

For comparison, that’s a higher yield than fast-food restaurant giants McDonald’s (2.26%), Starbucks (1.6%), and Yum! Brands (1.6%).

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Lowe’s Companies Inc (LOW)

Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse exterior.
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Lowe’s is Bill Ackman’s largest holding by market value, and the position has served the billionaire investor quite well.

Shares of the home improvement retail giant are up 29% year to date. The S&P 500 has returned 16% over the same period.

What’s more impressive than Lowe’s near-term stock price performance is how the company’s dividend has grown over the years.

The economy moves in cycles, but Lowe’s payout has only gone up. In fact, the company has increased its payout to shareholders every year for the past 59 years.

Decades of dividend hikes has brought Lowe’s quarterly dividend to $0.80 per share, translating to an annual yield of 1.5%.

Note that its competitors are also dividend-paying companies: Home Depot yields 2.0%, Target pays 1.5%, while Walmart offers an annual yield of 1.6%.

Due to Lowe’s rally over the past year, its shares now trade at over $200. But you can get a piece of the company using a popular stock trading app that allows you to buy fractions of shares with as much money as you’re willing to spend.

Agilent Technologies Inc (A)

Biotechnology scientist working in the lab
Elnur/Shutterstock

Agilent isn’t a household name, but within its own industry, the company is a force to be reckoned with.

Agilent provides bio-analyitical and electronic measurement solutions to a wide variety of industries including communications, life sciences, and chemical analysis.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., the company’s products are used by 265,000 labs around the world. In Agilent’s fiscal 2020, it brought in $5.34 billion of total revenue.

And in the most recent quarter, revenue grew 26% year-over-year to $1.59 billion.

Given this kind of performance, you’d think Agilent shares would be soaring. But while the stock has returned a solid 60% over the past year, it has pulled back about 10% since the peak in early September.

On the dividend front, Agilent offers an annual yield of 0.5%, which may not seem like much. But the company has an excellent track record when it comes to returning cash to investors: Since 2014, Agilent’s per share quarterly payout has increased by 106%.

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The neat thing with dividend stocks is that they provide a way for investors to earn a steady income stream regardless of what the economy is doing.

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You’ll gain exposure to high-end properties that big-time real estate moguls usually have access to, and you’ll receive regular payouts in the form of quarterly dividend distributions.

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About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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