Top Analysts Pound the Table Now on 5 'Strong Buy' Stocks Yielding 7% or More

The stock market has been giving investors whiplash recently. So it is no surprise many folks are looking for stability and big dividends. It is quite possible that the S&P 500 could end the year about where it is now or a touch lower. What could be difficult as we get to the second and third quarters is that we could be in store for a 20% to 25% sell-off as a year of interest rate increases finally starts to take its toll.

We will see more rate increases in March, May and likely in July. Plus we likely will see a big adjustment to earnings expectations, as many seem way too high now. Given that we could end the year essentially flat, total return may be the best way to achieve gains.

The impact total return has on portfolios is worth noting because it is one of the best ways to help improve the chances for overall investing success. Again, total return is the combined increase in a stock’s value plus dividends. For instance, if you buy a stock at $20 that pays a 3% dividend, and it goes up to $22 in a year, your total return is 13%: 10% for the increase in stock price and 3% for the dividends paid.

The following five stocks yielding 7% or more look like outstanding ideas for investors now, and all are rated Buy at top Wall Street firms. It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.


This maker of tobacco products offers value investors a great entry point now as it has been hit as cigarette sales have slowed. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is the parent company of Philip Morris USA (cigarettes), UST (smokeless), John Middleton (cigars), Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital. PMUSA enjoys a 51% share of the U.S. cigarette market, led by its top cigarette brand Marlboro.

Altria also owns over 10% of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, which some feel is worth more than $10 billion and may be a segment of the company that could be sold. Altria posted outstanding fourth-quarter results and also announced a shareholder-friendly $1 billion stock buyback plan.

Investors receive a 7.93% dividend. Stifel has a $50 target price on Altria stock. The consensus target is $49.65, and the shares ended Wednesday trading at $47.14.

Energy Transfer

This top master limited partnership (MLP) is a safe way for investors looking for energy exposure and income. Energy Transfer L.P. (NYSE: ET) owns and operates one of the largest and most diversified portfolios of energy assets in the United States, with a strategic footprint in all the major domestic production basins.