Telecom stocks are having a mediocre to poor year, which means you’ll want to check them out if you’re an income-focused investor.
When a company’s share price falls, its dividend yield rises. As of early July, year-to-date price declines for BCE Inc. (BCE-T), Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI.B-T), Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR.B-T) and Telus Corp. (T-T) left them with dividend yields ranging from a low of 3.1 per cent for Rogers to 5.6 per cent for BCE. Telecom is a sector that doesn’t do well in a rising rate environment, so you need to take the long view if you put money in any of these stocks right now. If you’re okay with that, consider some guidance from IncomeResearch.ca on which of the four to investigate.
“Our preferred holdings at this time are Telus and BCE, with their better dividend growth outlook and yields,” IncomeResearch.ca said in a recent advisory to clients. BCE is both the yield leader and the worst year-to-date performer, with a decline of about 11 per cent as of early July. IncomeResearch.ca says the primary risk for BCE shareholders is that rising rates depress the share price further. “Otherwise, the dividend is solid and expected to grow.” BCE has increased its dividend 14 times since the fourth quarter of 2008 and has gone 10 straight years in boosting dividends by 5 per cent or better.
IncomeResearch.ca expects Telus, which currently yields about 4.3 per cent, to produce dividend growth in the 5 to 7 per cent range and has a 12-month price target of $49 on the stock, which compares with a recent price of $46.50. The 12-month target price for BCE is $60, compared with a recent price of $53.50.
Rogers has not increased its dividend since 2014 and is “overdue,” says IncomeResearch.ca. Provided dividends do rise, the 12-month target price is $63.50, compared with a recent price of $62.60. Shaw, which pays a monthly dividend, currently has a yield around 4.4 per cent. IncomeResearch.ca describes that yield as “thin” for a company with a payout ratio that is expected to be above 100 per cent for fiscal 2018 at least. The 12-month target price for Shaw is $24, compared with a recent price of $26.70.