Current stock market volatility makes it incredibly difficult to think about long-term investments.
However, income-oriented investors should take comfort that some of the best dividend stocks are not just great investments for the months ahead but also proven performers so far in an admittedly rocky 2020.
In some cases that may simply mean they have done less bad than the market at large, but limiting losses now could mean you come out significantly ahead by the end of the year.
[Read: How to Live on Dividend Income.]
So if you're looking for stable investments in this uncertain market, give these five dividend stocks a look:
-- Gilead Sciences (ticker: GILD)
-- J. M. Smucker Co. (SJM)
-- Flowers Foods (FLO)
-- Orange (ORAN)
-- NortonLifeLock (NLOK)
Gilead Sciences (GILD)
Gilead is one of a handful of stocks that has actually posted a positive year-to-date return amid the market volatility.
That's in part because it continues to research coronavirus treatment options and could potentially make a bundle of cash beating back the global pandemic.
However, long-term investors should also know that GILD stock has stable revenue and a recession-proof business thanks to a robust pipeline of other prescription drugs for conditions including cardiovascular diseases and chronic inflammation.
Current yield: 3.9%
J. M. Smucker Co. (SJM)
Consumers may know the Smucker brand best from its jellies and jams, but the packaged foods company also owns Jif peanut butter, Folgers coffee and Meow Mix and Milk-Bone pet products to name a few.
While many people are forced to forgo dining out or discretionary spending, SJM will continue to see reliable revenue thanks to its strong portfolio of essential products. This will keep fueling a generous dividend to shareholders.
Current yield: 3.33%
Flowers Foods (FLO)
Another consumer staple stock that should remain strong in April is Flowers Foods, a bakery giant behind Nature's Own and Wonder bread brands as well as snack lines like Tastykake and Mrs. Freshley's.
[READ: 9 Best Dividend ETFs to Buy Now]
If you understand the appeal of peanut butter and jelly with Smucker, you clearly see the same appeal in FLO and its breads and cakes.
The dividend is generous at a bit more than two-thirds of total earnings, but very sustainable and perhaps even ripe for growth despite the current virus-related challenges.
Current yield: 4.28%
While not as recognizable a telecom to American investors as AT&T ( T) or Verizon Communications ( VZ), Orange is a similar but smaller outfit headquartered in Paris and with operations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Data and connectivity are in huge demand as Europeans are forced to stay at home, and Orange will continue chugging along without a problem in April.
Though Orange only pays dividends twice annually instead of quarterly, it's worth a look as it has outperformed domestic telecoms significantly, too. For example, AT&T recently saw its stock sink to its lowest level since 2010.
Current yield: 5.29%
Norton is a global leader in cybersecurity and virus protection software. And the 2017 acquisition of consumer identity protection giant LifeLock cemented it as a key player in fighting a broad array of digital crimes and disruptions.
Earnings estimates were rising before the recent virus outbreak, and there's no reason to think that won't hold as consumers and businesses will continue to need protection.
And most of its plays are subscription-based with auto-renewals to ensure steady revenue to support its generous dividend.
Current yield: 2.88%
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