3 Premium Dividend Stocks I’d Buy Without Hesitation This April

Dividend stocks have historically produced above-average returns. Since 1973, the average dividend payer in the S&P 500 produced a 9.2% average annual return, according to data from Ned Davis Research and Hartford Funds. That outpaced the 7.7% average annual total return of an equal-weighted S&P 500 Index. However, it’s worth noting that dividend growers and initiators drove those returns, producing a 10.2% average annual total return compared to 6.6% for companies with no change in their dividend policy. 

Given that data, companies able to grow their dividends should produce premium returns in the future. Three companies with excellent dividend growth track records (and visible growth ahead) are Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP 1.84%) (BIPC 1.30%)Enterprise Products Partners (EPD 0.58%), and Prologis (PLD 2.34%). I’d buy this trio of premium dividend payers without hesitation this month.

Plenty of growth drivers

Brookfield Infrastructure gave its investors a 6% raise earlier this year. That marked the 14th straight year of increasing the payout. 

The global infrastructure operator has ample power to continue pushing the payout higher. It generates very steady cash flow. About 90% comes from long-term, fixed-rate contracts or government-regulated rate structures. Meanwhile, Brookfield pays out a conservative portion of its cash flow (60% to 70% of its FFO) via the dividend. That enables it to retain some cash to finance expansion projects. The company also has a strong investment-grade credit rating, providing additional financial flexibility.

Brookfield has several growth drivers, including inflation-linked rate increases on its contracts, volume growth as the economy expands, and expansion projects. That trio of drivers can organically grow its FFO per share at a 6% to 9% annual rate. Meanwhile, its capital recycling strategy of selling mature assets and redeploying the proceeds into higher returning opportunities can further boost its bottom line. These catalysts should enable Brookfield to grow its dividend at a 5% to 9% annual rate over the long term.

The fuel to keep growing

Enterprise Products Partners has increased its distribution to investors by 5% over the past year. That marked the master limited partnership’s (MLP) 24th consecutive year of growing its payout. 

Enterprise has ample fuel to continue driving its distribution higher in the future. It has one of the strongest financial profiles in the energy midstream sector, including a low dividend payout ratio and top-tier credit rating. That means it has the funding capacity to pay its distribution while investing in expanding its midstream footprint.

The company currently has $6.1 billion of major projects under construction that should enter service through 2025. That provides a lot of visibility into future growth. Meanwhile, it has the flexibility to make acquisitions as compelling opportunities arise. Last year, Enterprise spent $3.2 billion to buy Navitas Midstream and another $160 million to purchase some pipelines and related assets.

Enormous embedded growth plus upside potential

Prologis recently increased its dividend by another 10%. The industrial REIT has grown its payout at a 12% compound annual rate over the last five years, significantly outpacing other REITs (6%) and the S&P 500 (5%).

The global warehouse operator should keep pushing its payout higher in the future. A big driver is rent growth. While the company signs long-term leases with tenants that feature annual rental rate escalations, the bigger catalyst is the massive gap between rental rates on existing leases and current market rates resulting from surging demand growth in recent years. Prologis estimates it can grow its net operating income at an 8% to 10% annual rate over the next few years as legacy leases expire, and it leases that space at higher market rents. This outlook assumes no further market rent growth, which seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, several other drivers could enable the company to grow its FFO per share at an even higher rate, including additional market rent growth, development projects, and acquisitions. The company has a large development pipeline and a vast land bank. The REIT also has ample financial flexibility to fund new investments. It has A-rated credit and generates significant free cash flow after paying its dividend.

No-brainer dividend stocks to buy

Brookfield Infrastructure, Enterprise Products Partners, and Prologis have delivered premium dividend growth over the years, which should continue. They should be able to produce above-average total returns in the future. That’s why I’d buy any one of them without hesitation this month.

Matthew DiLallo has positions in Brookfield Infrastructure, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, Enterprise Products Partners, and Prologis. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Prologis. The Motley Fool recommends Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and Enterprise Products Partners. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.