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3 Fabulous Dividend Stocks to Buy in February

In Business
February 04, 2024

Any time is a good time to buy solid dividend stocks. But this month is a special time to do so for one simple reason: There’s an extra day for investors to buy stocks because it’s a leap year.

Three Motley Fool contributors have picked what they believe are fabulous dividend stocks to buy in February. Here’s why they chose AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), Novartis (NYSE: NVS), and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE).

Don’t give up on this Dividend King yet

Prosper Junior Bakiny (AbbVie): Drugmaker AbbVie was hardly a hot commodity last year. The company lost patent exclusivity in the U.S. for the most important growth driver in its arsenal in the past decade: immunology medicine Humira. AbbVie’s revenue dropped as a result.

However, this ordeal didn’t stop management from raising the company’s dividend. AbbVie is currently in its 52nd straight year of payout increases, and despite the Humira-associated sales decline, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the company’s future.

For one, AbbVie plans to fill the hole left by its former crown jewel with several medicines, including Skyrizi and Rinvoq, a pair of immunology therapies whose indications substantially overlap with those of Humira. The company’s pipeline, bolstered by acquisitions, will also help it move on from Humira.

It isn’t rare for drugmakers to run into patent cliffs for key drugs, and when they do, their sales often decline for a while. Developing newer medicines is the cure for this disease, and that’s exactly what AbbVie is doing. The company expects to get back to top-line growth in 2025. And in several more years, Humira’s effect on its financial results will completely disappear.

In the meantime, given the strength of AbbVie’s underlying business and its track record, investors should continue to expect regular dividend increases. The drugmaker offers a competitive yield of 3.76% and a cash payout ratio of 42%.

AbbVie is more than capable of boosting its dividends even more, an excellent sign for income-seeking investors. The bottom line: Though AbbVie has had its share of troubles over the past year, it’s far too early to give up on this excellent dividend stock.

A high-yielding stock with strong prospects

David Jagielski (Novartis): Swiss pharma giant Novartis gives investors a great mix of value, dividends, and growth. The stock yields 3.3%, which is an above-average payout. The company also has an impressive dividend growth streak going back to 1996, which suggests that long-term investors could see their dividend income rise in the future.

Novartis is now focused more on growth after spinning off its generics and biosimilars business last year. By having a leaner operation, it can focus more on innovative medicines, which should pave the way to better growth opportunities, higher profits, and potentially higher dividend payments as well. Novartis projects that until 2027, its sales will be able to grow at an average of 5% per year, which is an upgrade over an earlier forecast that called for just 4% annual growth.

In 2023, the company had multiple drugs that generated at least 30% revenue growth while bringing in more than $1 billion in sales: Entresto, Kesimpta, and Kisqali. Its top 20 brands brought in just under $35 billion in revenue, and when excluding the impact of foreign exchange, grew at a rate of 12% year over year.

Novartis has a promising business, and with the stock trading at just 15 times its estimated future profits, it’s a relatively cheap buy as well; the average healthcare stock trades at multiple of 21. For long-term investors, Novartis is an excellent buy today.

An underrated high-yield dividend stock

Keith Speights (Pfizer): At face value, the only thing going for Pfizer these days is its dividend. The big drugmaker’s dividend yield stands at nearly 6.2%. CFO Dave Denton stated in the recent fourth-quarter conference call that Pfizer’s first capital allocation priority is “growing our dividend.”

I like Pfizer’s dividend — and so should most income investors. However, I don’t think that it’s the only good thing going for the company. My view is that Pfizer is arguably one of the most underrated high-yield dividend stocks on the market.

Exhibit A in my argument is valuation. Pfizer’s shares trade at below 12.2 times expected earnings. That’s well below the average forward earnings multiple of 18.7 for the healthcare sector and cheaper than most of its big pharma peers.

Exhibit B is Pfizer’s growth prospects. Sure, the company’s COVID-19 revenue is sinking. And yes, Pfizer faces patent expirations for multiple top-selling drugs over the next few years. But the company also projects roughly $45 billion in new annual revenue by 2030 from new product launches, new indications for existing drugs, and business development deals.

I think that Pfizer’s new revenue target is realistic. The big drugmaker has already launched several new products with huge commercial potential. Pfizer received the most U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals last year for new drugs in its history. It has also closed on several major acquisitions, notably including Seagen.

It could take some time before Pfizer convinces the majority of investors that its future is brighter than the COVID sales and patent losses reflect. In the meantime, though, those who already recognize that the company is underrated can sit back and enjoy those fantastic dividends.

Should you invest $1,000 in Pfizer right now?

Before you buy stock in Pfizer, consider this:

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*Stock Advisor returns as of January 29, 2024

David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights has positions in AbbVie and Pfizer. Prosper Junior Bakiny has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Pfizer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

3 Fabulous Dividend Stocks to Buy in February was originally published by The Motley Fool

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