The tech industry tends to be less generous with dividend payments than other market segments such as consumer staples and utilities. However, if you know where to look, you can still find robust yields backed by strong businesses.
Below, three Fool contributors will look at a few standout tech stocks that promise investors healthy yields, plus a good chance at capital appreciation. Here's why HP (NYSE: HP), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), and Corning (NYSE: GLW) deserve a spot on your income watch list.
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A fallen tech giant
Leo Sun (HP): HP's stock declined about 15% over the past 12 months as sales of its PCs and printers decelerated. The PC business struggled with long upgrade cycles, competition from mobile devices, and Intel's ongoing chip shortage throttling supplies of current-gen CPUs. The printing business faced soft hardware sales and rising competition from generic ink and toner suppliers.
However, that sell-off reduced HP's forward P/E ratio to 9 and boosted its forward dividend yield to 3.4%. HP spent just 7% of its free cash flow and 20% of its earnings on its dividend over the past 12 months, and it's raised that payout every year since it split with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in late 2015.
The bears will argue that HP is cheap because the PC market is weak and competition from generic printer suppliers won't wane. However, PC shipments should improve once Intel resolves its chip issues later this year. HP is also scaling up its printing business with its acquisitions of Samsung's printing unit and office equipment dealer Apogee, as well as its introduction of industrial 3D printers.
HP is also aggressively expanding its printing supply subscription service, Instant Ink, to lock in customers and widen its moat against generic rivals. Operating margins at both the PC and printing businesses expanded sequentially and annually last quarter, thanks to tighter cost controls, and HP continues to spend most of its free cash flow on buybacks to boost its EPS growth. Therefore, HP might not rally over the next few quarters, but it's still an undervalued income stock for patient investors.
Gaming the system for a solid yield
Steve Symington (Activision Blizzard): Even with its solid annual $0.37-per-share dividend yielding roughly 0.8% at today's prices, you might not consider Activision Blizzard a "high-yield" tech stock in the traditional sense. But with shares down nearly 50% from their all-time high set last September, and keeping in mind the massively profitable video gaming titan has increased its payout each year since starting with a $0.15-per-share payment in 2010, investors betting on a rebound have a chance to snag an artificially high yield right now.
To be fair, Activision's plunge wasn't entirely without merit. Though the company posted slightly better-than-expected first-quarter results in May, revenue still declined around 7%, to $1.83 billion, and net income was flat at roughly $603 million, or $0.78 per share. Investors were less impressed, however, the drops in monthly active users (MAUs) at Activision Blizzard's namesake segments were only partially offset by growth at its burgeoning King mobile gaming business.
But there are a few catalysts that could help Activision resume its rise, including promises of more frequent content releases, investments to drive incremental growth from flagship console and PC titles like Overwatch, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft, and plans to port some of its most popular franchises to mobile platforms.
If all goes well, that could mean investors who buy today enjoy a delightful combination of a decent dividend yield and good old-fashioned share-price appreciation.
Break glass in case of emergency
Demitri Kalogeropoulos (Corning): You wouldn't know it by simply reviewing the stock price movement, but Corning is off to a strong start to fiscal 2019. The display and optical communications giant notched double-digit sales growth and a 22% spike in core earnings in the first quarter as it won market share across each of its five major product divisions. CEO Wendell Weeks and his team expect those generally positive trends to carry through for the rest of the year as well.
Image source: Getty Images.
Wall Street chose instead to focus on the company's revised growth outlook for the key optical communications segment that is now on pace to rise by about 10% rather than the low-teens rate management had initially forecast. That downgrade is simply due to the shifting of order timing for one large customer, Corning said back in late April, and doesn't reflect any worsening of its market share trends.
That means income investors have a chance to buy this stock, and its current 2.8% dividend yield, at lower prices than at the start of this year. With broader tech indexes up almost 20% in 2019, it's rare to find such a large discount on a well-performing business.
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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Activision Blizzard. Leo Sun has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool is short shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. The Motley Fool recommends Corning. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.