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3 Big Dividend Stocks Yielding at Least 8%; Analysts Say ‘Buy’

Do you like roller coasters? According to Deutsche Bank, we’re looking at some roller coaster volatility for the next few months, with near-term gains likely, followed by a Q2 retreat, and second-half gains. The firm expects share values to fall in the next three months, perhaps by as much as 5% to 10%, for several reasons laid out by the firm’s strategist Binky Chadha. “The more front-loaded the impact of the stimulus, and the direct stimulus checks at around a quarter of the new package clearly are one off, the sharper the peak in growth is likely to be. The closer this peak in macro growth is to warmer weather (giving retail investors something else to do); and to an increased return to work at the office, the larger we expect the pullback to be,” Chadha noted. That’s the mid-term. In the longer view, Chadha expects markets to strengthen by year’s end, and has put a 4,100 target on the S&P 500. This is up from his previous 3,950 target, and suggests potential gains of 4% from current levels. So, for investors, we’re looking at a rocky summer and fall, with some dips and gains likely in the markets. In that environment, a defensive stock play makes sense; it provides some stability to the portfolio, as well as some insurance should the gains not materialize. Reliable dividend stocks, with their regular payouts, provide an income stream that’s independent of the share price appreciation, as well as a share profile that is less volatile to begin with, making them the ideal move for investors worried about keeping up returns while coping with high macro volatility. To that end, we’ve used the TipRanks database to pull up three high-yield dividend stocks that share a profile: a Buy-rating from the Street’s analyst corps; considerable upside potential; and a reliable dividend yielding over 8%. Let’s see what Wall Street’s pros have to say about them. Monroe Capital (MRCC) We’ll start with Monroe Capital, a private equity firm invested in the health care, media, retail, and tech sectors. Monroe is focusing its business on minority and women-owned companies, or on companies with employee stock ownership plans. Monroe offers these sometimes underserved demographics access to capital resources for business development. Monroe has shown two contradictory trends so far this year: declining revenues and earnings, along with rising share value. The company’s top line, at $12.6 million, was down 6% from Q3, and 25% year-over-year, while EPS fell 40% sequentially to 42 cents. Year-over-year, however, EPS more than doubled. Looking at share price, Monroe’s stock has gained 60% in the past 12 months. On the dividend front, Monroe paid out 25 cents per share in December; the next is scheduled, at the same amount, for the end of this month. With an annualized payment of $1, the dividend yields a strong 9.8%. This compares favorably to the 2% average yield found among peer companies. The dividend attracted attention from Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski, rated 5-stars by TipRanks. “We continue to see a runway to eventual dividend coverage with full fees expensed as management grows the portfolio to its target 1.1–1.2x leverage (from 1.0x currently) and redeploys funds currently tied up in non-accruals once resolved… The primary driver of return for a BDC is its dividend payout over time, and we have confidence that MRCC’s new $1.00 distribution (equating to a ~10% yield) is sustainable,” Kotowski noted. In line with his comments, Kotowski rates MRCC an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $12 price target suggests it has room to grow 25% in the year ahead. (To watch Kotowski’s track record, click here) The analyst reviews on MRCC break down 2 to 1 in favor of Buy versus Holds, making the consensus rating a Moderate Buy. The shares have a trading price of $9.59, and their $11.13 average target implies an upside of 16% in the year ahead. (See MRCC stock analysis on TipRanks) Eagle Point Credit Company (ECC) Let’s stick with the middle-market financial sector. Eagle Point is another of the capital investment companies that seeks to turn middle-market debt into returns for investors. The company invests in CLO equity, and focuses on current income generation – in other words, ensuring a return for its own investors. While Eagle Point is a small-cap player, the company does boast $3 billion in assets under management – showing that it punches above its weight. Last month, Eagle Point reported 4Q20 earnings, with EPS of 24 cents, below the expectation of 29 cents. However, the current earnings just edged into growth quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, as 3Q20 and 4Q19 both came in at 23 cents. Turning to the dividend, we find that Eagle Point does something slightly unusual. The company pays out a monthly dividend, rather than quarterly. The current payment, at 8 cents per common share, has been held steady for over a year now, and the company has not missed a distribution. At 96 cents per common share annually, the dividend yields is 8.4%. This is robust by any standard. B. Riley’s 5-star analyst Randy Binner covers Eagle Point, and he notes that the company should have no problem in maintaining its dividend coverage moving forward. “The company’s reported quarterly recurring CLO cash flows averaged $0.75/share over the last 12 months. Similar levels of recurring cash flows would leave a large cushion to service the $0.24 quarterly dividend going forward…. The company announced $29.5M of cash on the balance sheet as of February 9. This balance sheet cash and serviceable quarterly dividend of $0.24 contribute to a favorable liquidity position,” Binner wrote. Binner’s comments back up a Buy rating on the stock, and his $14 price target implies a 12-month upside of 23%. (To watch Binner’s track record, click here) Wall Street takes the same stance on ECC that it did on MRCC: a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on a 2-1 split between Buy and Hold reviews. ECC shares have an average price target of $14, matching Binner’s, and the shares are trading for $11.41. (See ECC stock analysis on TipRanks) Hess Midstream Operations (HESM) Midmarket financials are not the only place to find strong dividends. Wall Street pros also recommend the energy sector, and that is where we now turn. Hess Midstream is one of many companies in the midstream sector of the energy industry, providing and supporting the infrastructure needed to gather, process, store, and transport a fossil fuel products from the well heads into the distribution network. Hess has a range of midstream assets in the North Dakota Bakken formation, moving crude oil and natural gas, along with their derivatives. Hess reported results for 4Q20 earlier this year, showing $266 million at the top line and EPS of 36 cents per share. Revenues were up 5% year-over-year, and relatively flat from Q3. EPS rose 20% quarter-over-quarter, but were down sharply compared to the 87 cents reported in 4Q19. Of interest to investors, the company reported over $126 million in free cash flow, which it used to fund the dividend. Hess pays out its dividend quarterly, and has a reputation for not missing payments. The company has been raising the payment regularly for the past four years, and most recent dividend, at 45 cents per common share, was paid out in February. This dividend is considered ‘safe,’ as the company expects to generate between $610 million and $640 million in free cash flow next year. Those funds will fully cover the dividend, with approximately $100 million left over. Writing from Scotiabank, analyst Alonso Guerra-Garcia sees the free cash flow as Hess’s priority going forward. “We expect the focus this year to be on the harvesting of free cash flow (FCF) with deployment toward buybacks and further de-leveraging. Improved FCF profiles this year also better position the group for a 2H21 demand recovery. Continued energy policy changes and the energy transition may be headwinds this year, but we continue to prefer exposure to the more diversified companies with FCF after dividend (FCFAD) optionality and torque to a recovery,” the analyst opined. To this end, Guerra-Garcia rates HESM an Outperform (i.e. Buy), with a $27 price target indicating a potential upside of 26% by year’s end. (To watch Guerra-Garcia’s track record, click here) All in all, there are only 2 reviews on this small-cap energy company, and they are evenly split – one Buy and one Hold – giving Hess a Moderate Buy rating. The shares are trading for $21.41 and their $27 average price target suggests a one-year upside of 26%. (See HESM stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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