Chip Stocks for DRIP Investors

07/17/2020 5:00 am EST


Charles Carlson

Editor, DRIP Investor

For the most part, technology stocks have managed to show decent top and bottom-line performances this year despite the impact of the coronavirus, observes Chuck Carlson, editor of DRIP Investor.

At least in the near term, investors feel more comfortable owning stocks with operating and price momentum, and tech stocks offer such momentum.

The fact that several tech stocks have dividend yields greater than a 10-year Treasury and have the financial firepower and operating momentum to maintain and grow their dividends is especially attractive in the current dividend environment.

The bottom line is that the tech sector offers some of the more attractive growth-and-income plays in the market. Many of those tech dividend payers offer direct-purchase plans whereby any investor may buy the first share and every share directly from the company.

Here are two of our favorites:

Applied Materials (AMAT) is a leading provider of equipment for semiconductor manufacturing. I like the semi group, and I like the value that Applied Materials offers. The stock still trades at a discount to its 52-week high of nearly $70 per share.

Applied Materials should show revenue and earnings growth in fi scal 2020 and 2021, and long-term growth prospects are solid given the need for semiconductor companies to remain on the cutting edge of technology.

The company increased the dividend nearly 5% this year and now yields 1.4%. And with a payout ratio of just 23% of expected 2020 profits, I look for further dividend hikes over the next 12 months. The stock is a strong buy at current prices.

Applied Materials offers a direct-purchase plan through Computershare’s DirectStock program. Minimum initial investment is $25, though the minimum is reduced to just $10 if investors agree to recurring automatic investments for three months.

Qualcomm (QCOM) sports a 3% yield; the dividend is well supported by a solid financial position, highlighted by nearly $10 billion in cash and securities at the end of March.

The company boosted its dividend 5% earlier this year to a quarterly rate of $0.65 per share. Per-share earnings in 2020 should cover the dividend, and the payout ratio drops below 50% if you use expected 2021 profits.

Qualcomm stock has been climbing steadily higher since March and should retest its intermediate high of around $95 per share. The company offers a play on the growth of 5G given its strong position in the chip sector.

The stock’s history is filled with fairly wide price swings, so these shares are not for the skittish. But I have owned Qualcomm for a number of years and like the company’s total return potential. Qualcomm’s direct purchase plan has an initial minimum of $500. Subsequent investments are a minimum $50.

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