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The 20 Best Small-Cap Dividend Stocks to Buy

James Brumley, Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

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Small-cap stocks aren't generally viewed as income-oriented investments. Nonetheless, there's a handful of off-the-radar tickers that offer not only the growth potential typical of smaller companies, but cash generation, too.

And at the moment, it might actually make sense for investors to seek out small-cap dividend stocks to buy, as counterintuitive as they might seem.

Despite the strong start to the new year, the Russell 2000 Index of small caps has trailed large-cap stocks - as represented by Standard & Poor's 500-stock index - in a big way since late February. That's when the small-cap rally peaked. For the year-to-date, the S&P 500 has gained 19.1%, while the smaller-company index has gained 14.6%.

This lull might ultimately prove a buying opportunity, however, and for small-cap dividend payers in particular. Waning bond yields are increasingly sending investors on a search for yields, and few large-cap income plays have proven up to the task.

Here's a rundown of 20 small-cap dividend stocks to buy now. Remember that buying shares of any small company - even a dividend payer - may come with added risks, which can include highly concentrated revenue streams and less access to financing. Also note that several of these companies will report earnings in the next couple of weeks, which will provide more clarity into their financial situations.

SEE ALSO: 25 Stocks Every Retiree Should Own

ABM Industries

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Market value: $2.7 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

It's possible you work for an organization that calls ABM Industries (ABM, $41.05) one of its service providers. The company offers a variety of building-management solutions including cafeteria operations, lighting systems and even linen care. ABM can even take care of athletic fields.

The opportunity is bigger than you might realize. The world spent almost $35 billion on third-party building managers last year, and that number is expected to hit $59.3 billion by 2023. Most institutions and building owners would rather simply outsource the tedious and often distracting work.

It's still a fragmented market. ABM is one of the biggest names in the business when excluding real estate investment trusts (REITs, which own the properties they manage), and it still secured just $6.5 billion in revenues over the past four reported quarters. That small piece of the market translates into an opportunity for growth, however, as scale even leads to greater cost-efficiency even with the often-ignored industry.

ABM Industries' dividend has grown reliably over the past decade; 2008's total full-year payout of 41 cents per share has improved to 72 cents over the past four quarters. That improvement in income has come alongside similarly reliable revenue and income growth.

The current yield of 1.8% is modest compared to other small-cap dividend stocks, but right around the market average. That said, ABM Industries is beefing up that dividend at a much faster pace than companies with similar risk-reward profiles.

SEE ALSO: 13 Super-Safe Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

Andeavor Logistics LP

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Market value: $8.8 billion

Distribution yield: 11.5%*

The oil and gas sector has been torturous to investors for the past several years. Although the 2014 meltdown is well in the rearview mirror, the industry still is handling the repercussions of oversupply. Energy stocks remain a tricky trade.

There's a narrow sliver of the sector that's still relatively easy to own, however, which encompasses a small company called Andeavor Logistics LP (ANDX, $35.74).

Andeavor (formerly Tesoro) is considered a midstream company, meaning it transports oil and gas from one place to another, connecting refiners and their final customers. It operates almost 1,500 miles worth of pipeline with more than 60 different terminals. It also owns enough storage capacity to park up to 47 million barrels of someone else's oil that's waiting to be sold or delivered.

It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that serving as a middleman of sorts completely shields a company from the ebbs and flows of oil prices. But pipeline owners are paid by the barrel or cubic foot transported, so as long as the world is burning oil and gas, Andeavor Logistics will be in demand. The company has an unusually steady revenue profile to verify it can stand up to the energy market's down-cycles.

Even more impressive is its payout history. Andeavor - an oddity among these small-cap dividend stocks to buy in that it is a limited partnership - doles out a dividend-like distribution that has expanded every year since 2012. The annualized payment is up from $1.07 per partnership unit then to a current pace of $4.04 per share.

* Distribution yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent distribution and dividing by the share price. Distributions are similar to dividends, but are treated as tax-deferred returns of capital and require different paperwork come tax time.

SEE ALSO: 10 Small-Cap Value Stocks Analysts Love the Most

Archrock

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Market value: $1.4 billion

Dividend yield: 5.0%

Archrock (AROC, $10.47), like Andeavor Logistics, is categorized as a midstream player within the energy market, and rightfully so. It handles oil and gas after it's been extracted and processed, but before end-users take possession of it.

But the term "midstream" can mean a lot of things. In Archrock's case, it means the act of preparing natural gas in a way that makes it more efficient to handle.

In simplest terms, Archrock compresses natural gas so it can be easily stored, sent through a pipe or even drawn out of a well. The equipment needed to do all of this can be enormous, and expensive, so it generally makes more sense for a small driller to outsource the work and only pay for it when a project calls for it. Archrock hasn't faced any major headwind in terms of securing customers, though. As of the end of the first quarter of the year, 88% of its compressing horsepower was being utilized.

Like Andeavor Logistics, Archrock is relatively immune to wide fluctuations in the price of gas. Stripping out the impact of 2014's spinoff of certain revenue-bearing assets, when it was still called Exterran, the company's revenues and profits both remained surprisingly stable.

Regardless of its price, consumption of natural gas remains fairly consistent, which in turn supports a similarly reliable dividend that currently yields around 5% of the stock's price.

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Ares Captial

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Market value: $7.7 billion

Dividend yield: 8.9%

Ares Capital (ARCC, $18.06) is not technically a stock. Indeed, it looks and feels more like a mutual fund than an individual equity, and as such sidesteps the risks as well as the rewards owning a piece of an individual company.

In spirit, though, Ares may be the quintessential way income-seeking investors plug into the small-cap market.

Ares Capital is classified as a business development company (BDC), meaning it provides capital to young, small startups that generally aren't publicly traded. Funding usually is offered in the form of loans, though in some instances there's an equity element involved. Organizations ranging from auto-parts markets to restaurants to dentistry groups to software developers - and more - are part of the Ares family, making loan payments back to the BDC which in turn become interest payments collected by Ares Capital shareholders.

The company's edge? The organization legally avoids any corporate income tax liability by passing along at least 90% of its investment income along to shareholders.

There's still risk involved to be sure. Namely, an economic headwind could adversely impact Ares Capital's borrowers the same way it would work against any for-profit entity. ARCC shares are no stranger to surprisingly wide swings either, especially given the stable nature of the business.

Even so, from a risk-versus-reward perspective, a solid business development company like Ares is among the most compelling and often-overlooked alternatives. BDCs also tend to be among the best-yielding small-cap dividend stocks to buy for high-income hunters, at yields stretching into the double digits at times.

SEE ALSO: 10 Small-Cap Growth Stocks Analysts Love the Most

B&G Foods

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Market value: $1.2 billion

Dividend yield: 10.1%

The name B&G Foods (BGS, $18.83) may not ring a bell, but certainly some of its brands will. B&G is the company that brings you Ortega taco shells, Green Giant frozen vegetables, Cream of Wheat and SnackWell's devil's food cookie cakes just to name a few.

The packaged food business wasn't particularly kind to investors last year, and B&G Foods wasn't exempted. Unlike more familiar names such as Hormel (HRL) and Mondelez (MDLZ), however, BGS stock hasn't snapped back. Instead, it has continued lower, reaching new 52-week lows last month. Concerns about cost control stemming from a modest degree of scale have weighed down the stock. Worries are growing about the safety of its dividend, which was increased just a year ago.

What's largely been overlooked, however, is that what B&G may lack in scale, it can offset with nimbleness and speed. Yes, the company is on pace to pay out more in dividends this year ($1.90 per share) than analysts expect it to earn ($1.80), it's in the midst of a significant cost-cutting effort that's moving quickly.

CEO Kenneth Romanzi explained in February, "So our 2019 plan is rooted in list pricing and cost savings initiatives that are more aggressive in 2019 than in 2018, to tame the higher inflationary pressures we expect. Both of these pillars are supported by sales growth consistent with our long-term objective of 0% to 2% top-line growth." B&G also recently announced the acquisition of the Clabber Girl baking-products brand, which should cost-effectively mesh well with its existing brands.

Even if the dividend is sliced in half, BGS still would yield nearly 5%. The doubters might have overshot their target.

SEE ALSO: 33 Ways to Get Higher Yields (Up to 12%!)

BGC Partners

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Market value: $1.9 billion

Dividend yield: 10.1%

BGC Partners (BGCP, $5.57) is a brokerage firm, though not for retail investors. Rather, as Steve Azoury, founder of Michigan-based financial planning firm Azoury Financial, explains it, BGC is "a brokerage and market data service company that services clients, such as brokers, dealers and investment banks. This professional service company focuses on the purchase and sales of commodities, stocks and options, as well as real estate."

Its technology and trade-routing solutions offers its customers, and the clients of those customers, access to markets and information that would otherwise be difficult to plug into, including pricing and trading of credit default swaps and interest rate swaps.

It's a more reliable market than that of retail (ordinary) investors. Last year's revenue growth was 13%, while the analyst community expects sales to expand 10% for the year underway. Earnings may not be quite as consistent, but they're still stable and more than cover the current annualized dividend of 56 cents per share.

Azoury is a fan of the dividend too, which now yields at just above 10% thanks to the stock's pullback over the course of the past year.

SEE ALSO: How Well Do You Know Dividends?

Clearway Energy

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Market value: $3.5 billion

Dividend yield: 4.4%

Clearway Energy (CWEN, $18.05) is, in most regards, the ideal clean energy provider. Not only do its wind and solar power farms drive consistent revenue, but for the past few years, it has turned a profit more often than not. That's something too many companies in the business have been unable to say for too long.

Clearway can deliver up to 4.1 gigawatts of power, though it's differentiating itself in a way that other providers may want to consider. Namely, it's addressing location-specific and customer-specific challenges.

Earlier this year, the company entered a 40-year partnership with Duquesne University to help the school lower its electricity costs and improve reliability. It's just one of dozens of user-specific projects that will become increasingly necessary to make alternative energy a truly viable alternative to more traditional forms of power generation. EcoLab (ECL), MGM Resorts (MGM) and Whole Foods are just some of the other organizations that Clearway is working with.

This approach has facilitated a respectable dividend profile. The PG&E (PCG) bankruptcy forced Clearway to cut its dividend late last year, as it put a key power-provision contract up in the air. Prior to that, Clearway Energy was a model citizen among small-cap dividend stocks - and presumably will be again in the near future once the dust settles. Even now, though, the stock still pays more than 4%.

SEE ALSO: 7 Double-Threat Dividend Stocks in Tech

Covanta

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Market value: $2.2 billion

Dividend yield: 5.8%

Covanta (CVA, $17.18) is a trash disposal company, which is a resilient business model in and of itself. No matter what, consumers and corporations alike will have garbage to get rid of.

Covanta is much more than just a waste disposal name, however. It has turned the business into a science that turns trash into treasure.

It's called energy-from-waste, which accurately describes the process of collecting burnable gases produced from the natural decay of garbage. Every year, Covanta extracts enough methane from the garbage it collects to create 9 million megawatt hours of electricity. That's enough to keep the lights on at over 1 million homes. The company also recycles 600,000 tons of metal per year, or enough material to build 400,000 vehicles.

Those are revenue-bearing products for Covanta, which is paid by municipalities or directly by consumers to haul that very same waste away.

Although the company hasn't raised its quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share since the last quarter of 2014, it still has made that payment like clockwork every quarter in the meantime. And, despite sometimes paying out more than it earns, analysts have remained curiously bullish on Covanta. They collectively rate CVA stock at slightly better than a Buy, and sport a consensus target price of $19.00 per share. It's a testament to the direction the company is going, and at least in a small way an acknowledgement that the current yield of 5.8% is compelling.

SEE ALSO: 14 Stocks With Special Dividends to Watch

Invesco

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Market value: 9.3 billion

Dividend yield: 6.2%

Most seasoned investors are familiar with the name Invesco (IVZ, $19.52). It's the company that manages several funds and ETFs, including the popular Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ).

What most investors may not realize, however, is that Invesco's universe of investment options isn't limited to those trading under an Invesco label. The company also owns Oppenheimer Funds, amassing more than $1 trillion worth of managed assets under one roof late last year.

It's a business that's perfectly suited for driving dividend payments. Although the natural ebb and flow of the broad market increases and decreases the company's asset base from which it extracts a tiny fraction of a percent every quarter, it's a fraction of a percent that it knows it will be able to pocket each and every quarter. In other words, figure may change from one quarter to the next, but there's never a doubt that Invesco will be able to collect something for its fund-management efforts.

To that end, revenue and income have waffled over the course of the past several years, but even when the economy was in the gutter in 2008, Invesco was able to stay in the black.

Shares lost more than half their value in 2018, in part on skepticism of its Oppenheimer acquisition. However, that - as well as annual dividend growth since 2005 - has plumped up the yield to above 6%.

SEE ALSO: 7 High-Yield Dividend Stocks With More to Give

Investors Bancorp

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Market value: $3.1 billion

Dividend yield: 3.8%

With interest rates plausibly positioned to fall as we move deeper into the latter half of 2019, now doesn't feel like the time to consider banks. Banks enjoy stronger margins on their lending activities when interest rates are higher rather than lower.

The cause-effect relationship doesn't always stand up to scrutiny, however. It oversimplifies how consumers think and how lenders respond. In a so-so economy like the one in place now, slightly lower rates may well inspire a swell of fresh borrowing, offsetting crimped margins with sheer volume of loan growth.

And a smaller, nimble bank like Investors Bancorp (ISBC, $11.06) could easily navigate the pitfalls of falling rates that larger outfits such as Bank of America (BAC) or Citigroup (C) just can't.

That's what analysts seem to think is in the cards for the New Jersey-based bank, which sports a little more than $25 billion in assets, serviced through more than 145 branches in New Jersey and New York. Its financial results bumped into a headwind this year, but analysts are calling for earnings of 81 cents per share in 2020, which would be a nice improvement from this year's earnings outlook of 73 cents per share. The pros expect that to be driven by a 5% increase in revenues.

This small-cap dividend stock's payment has grown each year since 2016 and yields 4% - generous by bank standards.

SEE ALSO: 10 High-Yield Monthly Dividend Stocks and Funds to Buy

Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP

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Market value: $425.2 million

Distribution yield: 8.8%

Odds are that most U.S. investors rely on, or see, at least one of Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP's (LMRK, $16.78) physical assets every single day. The company owns a network of wireless communication towers, billboards and renewable power plants from coast to coast.

It's the perfect sort of operation for driving revenue that ends up driving dividends. Though there are only modest growth opportunities on all three fronts, those opportunities are reliable, and consistent. Mobile devices are increasingly the norm, which will require more and more towers now that the 5G-powered internet of things is being built. Billboard advertising is always marketable, and now that solar and wind power have reached cost-parity with fossil fuels, alternative energy is finally profitable enough without subsidies to accelerate its adoption.

The proof of the pudding, so to speak, is the payout. The distribution, paid quarterly, has improved from an annual $1.06 per share in 2015 to $1.47 per share in 2018.

As an alternative, investors may also want to consider Landmark's Series A preferred stock, which trades as LMRKP. The cumulative preferred shares' payment is prioritized over any distributions extended to owners of common units. The coupon rate of 8.0% is also well above average, as is the current yield of 7.8%. That's less than LMRK's 8.8% yield, but preferred-stock owners enjoy a slightly higher degree of certainty.

Macquarie Infrastructure

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Market value: $3.5 billion

Dividend yield: 9.7%

They may both call themselves infrastructure companies, but Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC, $41.07) is distinctly different than Landmark Infrastructure Partners. Macquarie operates storage facilities to the energy and chemical industries, a jet fuel and plane-hanger business and a Hawaii-based energy distributor.

It can feel like a bit of a moving target at times. Demand for air travel can be impacted by the perceived condition of the economy. And revenues are subject to changes in the price of crude oil. Chemical and energy companies also increase or decrease production according to demand, which can alter the need for storage.

However, for investors who can stomach the changes in its dividend that reflect changes to its profitability, the lofty current yield of almost 10% - among the highest of these small-cap dividend stocks to buy - might be well worth the risk.

There's reason to hope Macquarie's fiscal underpinnings are entering a phase of better stability. Oil prices are on the mend after last year's sizeable setback. The Energy Information Administration's outlook through 2020, however, says 2020's average price for U.S. crude oil should be around $63 per barrel. That's only marginally higher than current prices near $60. Airlines don't seem to be balking.

In fact, airlines continue to ramp up demand for new planes, reflecting continued growth in air travel that will drive the need for new hangars, too. Boeing (BA) believes the total number of aircraft in service by 2037 will be nearly double that of 2018's count.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Cheapest Warren Buffett Stocks

Navient

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Market value: $3.2 billion

Dividend yield: 4.8%

Navient (NAVI, $13.44) operates in a tough but lucrative arena. The company primarily exists to help college students secure and then repay student loans. It's one of only a handful of companies the U.S. Department of Education has authorized to facilitate such a service, which eases the burden of borrowing for school by arranging a more affordable repayment plan. It also offers conventional consumer loans, though student loans are its bread and butter.

A quick glance at the company may raise red flags. Last quarter's revenues fell short of estimates, and per-share profits have been shrinking since 2014, when revenue slumped.

A closer look, however, suggests Navient's results are on the mend. Last quarter's earnings of 52 cents per share were up 11% year-over-year, marking a measurable profit turnaround effort since late 2017. Revenue has improved for eight consecutive quarters now, underscoring the idea that Navient is gaining traction that it couldn't a few years ago.

Meanwhile, education trends are in Navient's favor. A near-record number of 19.9 people were enrolled in college in the United States, while the 21 million students from 2010's peak level are still, for the most part, making payments on their loans. College enrollment is expected to remain on the upswing through 2027, when the National Center for Education Statistics expects 20.5 million students to be enrolled in college.

Office Properties Income Trust

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Market value: $1.2 billion

Dividend yield: 8.4%

Real estate investment trusts are a reliable means of driving consistent income, even if growth prospects are modest. Not all REITs are built the same, however; some are better all-weather plays than others.

Riley FBR research analyst Bryan Maher suggests Office Properties Income Trust (OPI, $26.06) is a REIT with the potential to produce market-beating returns. He explains in his most recent analytical notes, "Over the next two to three quarters, we should begin to see a more appropriate valuation as the merger noise mitigates and the company executes on its de-leveraging plan and portfolio recycling initiatives."

The merger in question unwound a fairly complicated cross-ownership structure with Government Income Properties Trust and Select Income REIT. In essence, all three entities became one, but the analyst contends that most investors are still struggling to understand the new, combined organization. That should change. Maher writes, "As the company executes on its portfolio/balance sheet initiatives over the next several months, we will see a more appropriate relative valuation in OPI share."

That could lift the REIT closer to B. Riley FBR's target price of $50 - Wall Street's highest - versus the stock's current price near $26. In the meantime, buyers as OPI's current price will step in at a trailing yield of well more than 8%.

SEE ALSO: 6 Apartment REITs to Buy for Steady Yields

Outfront Media

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Market value: $3.8 billion

Dividend yield: 5.4%

Landmark Infrastructure Partners may own a nationwide network of billboards, but its stake in alternative energy properties and wireless communication towers dilutes its focus. Investors looking for a purer play on the outdoor advertising space may want to consider Outfront Media (OUT, $26.71).

The company takes large-scale signage to a whole new level. More than just billboards, Outfront Media owns and operates more than 400,000 displays, including thousands of so-called liveboards: large-screen televisions that can add movement and audio to create a more immersive experience for consumers. Consumers also see Outfront's work hanging as giant banners outside of high-rise building, on subway cars, on the sides of buses, and of course, ordinary billboards.

Perhaps more important, Outfront Media has found its groove, and stayed there. Quarterly revenue has grown on a year-over-year basis for eight consecutive quarters now; operating income has grown in six of the past eight. Analysts are calling for more of the same steady growth going forward too.

This small-cap dividend stock's payout hasn't moved much in the past five years, though its one change - a 6% bump in 2016 - was positive.

Patterson Companies

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Market value: $1.9 billion

Dividend yield: 5.3%

Medical supplies distributor Patterson Companies (PDCO, $19.75) is hardly a favorite among analysts, who collectively rate it at slightly less than Hold. Their consensus price target of $22.15 is also not that much higher than the stock's current price.

Income-minded investors, however, will appreciate the current yield above 5% and dividend growth advance that so far has proven unstoppable.

Patterson Companies provides consumable and technologies for dental and veterinarian practices. Goods ranging from dental drills to office supplies to animal examination tables are all part of its portfolio, and more. Although it's not a high-growth arena, the arena does offer reliable growth. The continued aging of baby boomers has kept dentists unusually busy in recent years. That's one of the key reasons spending on dental care in the U.S. is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5% through 2025.

Pet mania is going strong, too. Americans shelled out a record-breaking $72.6 billion on their domesticated animals last year, with veterinary care accounting for more than $18 billion of it. Vet care is expected to be the fastest-growing piece of the market this year again.

Last quarter's earnings miss and a disappointing full-year outlook took a toll on the stock in June. It's noteworthy, however, that analysts didn't turn any more bearish when they had an opportunity to do so.

SEE ALSO: The 19 Best Stocks to Buy for the Rest of 2019

PetMed Express

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Market value: $322.6 million

Dividend yield: 6.7%

Speaking of pets, it's not just veterinarians benefiting from the boom. Companies that supply pet owners with prescription drugs for their furry friends are also well-positioned for growth.

That's PetMed Express (PETS, $16.03), first and foremost.

The stock has been on an uncomfortable journey since early 2018, giving up roughly two-thirds of its value as newcomers enter the online pet-pharmacy market. Chewy.com (CHWY), initially just an online retailer for pet basics like toys and food, entered the fray in the middle of last year. Walmart (WMT) waded into the same waters in May 2019.

The new competition appears to have taken a toll. When the company revealed fiscal fourth-quarter numbers in May, it reported its first quarterly revenue decline since 2015. A couple of key earnings miss since the middle of 2018, however, had already put the selling in motion. Walmart is sure to be a tough competitor as well.

All those newcomers, though, might be more bark than bite. Analysts are modeling 2019 as a difficult rebuilding year but forecast a return to modest revenue and earnings growth in 2020. What might be an overdone selloff has the stock paying a yield of 6.7%, on a dividend that has routinely grown for years.

Six Flags Entertainment

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Market value: $4.5 billion

Dividend yield: 6.2%

Plenty of kids want to own an amusement park. As an adult, they can. Six Flags Entertainment (SIX, $52.87) is one of the last publicly traded theme park stocks that's not part of a much bigger, less-focused entertainment conglomerate.

Six Flags owns 26 parks in North America, most of which use the familiar moniker. In-season, 50,000 employees operate more than 900 rides, delighting and/or terrifying more than 32 million guests per year. Last year it generated nearly $1.5 billion in revenue - its ninth consecutive year of record sales - and this year's top line is expected to exceed that figure. Analysts see sales growing 4% in 2020 to $1.6 billion.

More important, Six Flags is profitable. More important than that, it generously lets shareholders participate in its success. Of last year's per-share earnings of $3.23, the company dished out $3.16 in dividends.

Six Flags also is one of the most exciting small-cap dividend stocks on this list. 2019 is shaping up to be a great year, and analysts are taking notice. KeyBanc analyst Brett Andress recently upgraded SIX to Outperform (equivalent of Buy), explaining his research suggested attendance was up 8% so far this year. The marketwide expectation varied from 4% to 6%. Wells Fargo recently upped its opinion of Six Flags as well, to Outperform. Analyst Timothy Conder said the amusement park chain's value-minded "getaway" played well in a slow growth economy, while a favorable tax environment could lead to "enhanced confidence toward modest dividend growth and share repurchases."

SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds to Buy Now

Steelcase

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Market value: $2.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.5%

Shares of metal furniture and fixture company Steelcase (SCS, $16.83) plunged 11% in one day in June, in response to a concerning first-quarter report. It wasn't the first time SCS suffered that sort of setback; the stock has been tripped up multiple times since 2016.

There's a reason Steelcase was able to eventually stage a full recovery every time it has stumble, however. That is, while the earnings shortfall or outlook may seem troubling at the time, this is a company investors doubt will be held back for very long, if held back at all. Even in the midst of tariff-driven woes and a brewing economic headwind, SCS has recovered more than half the ground it lost on that June decline.

Although far from recession-proof, Steelcase has proven resilient and savvy. A string of acquisitions made in 2018 has proven fruitful, with targeted synergies driving the expected profit growth. Last quarter's earnings miss was the first in two years, and per-share profits still were higher on a year-over-year basis.

Steelcase's dividend has improved annually for years and sits at 14.5 cents per share, which comes out to 58 cents annually. Wall Street's pros expect the company to earn $1.28 per share this year, meaning it has plenty of wiggle room to maintain and even raise its dividend despite any income volatility the company might experience.

TerraForm Power

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Market value: $3.1 billion

Dividend yield: 5.5%

If TerraForm Power (TERP, $14.62) rings oddly familiar, it may be because the company was implicated in the 2016 bankruptcy petition filed for, and approved for SunEdison. Though neither it nor its sister yieldco TerraForm Global were dragged into trouble by SunEdison, the implications of association were enough to hold shares of the sponsored-but-separate companies back.

That has changed dramatically of late. After two years of stagnation, TERP has finally broken out of a price rut, touching three-year highs this month.

Results are the driving force behind the stock's renewed strength. With the SunEdison debacle now in the rearview mirror, investors have been able to take note of accelerating revenue growth that has reached record levels this year. That progress has also pushed the company's operating profit and EBITDA to new highs. And more growth is in the cards, as the net cost of solar power is now at or near parity with fossil fuel-driven electricity. TerraForm's earnings are projected to more than triple from 2018's bottom line of 7 cents per share to 26 cents in 2020.

TerraForm itself is targeting 5% to 8% annual dividend growth through 2022. Combine the growth and dividend-growth aspects with a high yield north of 5%, and you have one of the most complete sets of positive investment attributes among these 20 small-cap dividend stocks.

TerraForm Power has the added advantage of being structured as a yieldco, which is short for "yield company." SunEdison developed it to optimize sustained, reliable dividend growth in mind. That structure still stands, even though SunEdison is out of the picture.

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