Investors are looking to close out another successful year with the S&P 500 index up about 25% in 2021. On the heels of strong economic data, including the lowest level of jobless claims since 1969, it seems like a foregone conclusion to assume that the market will finish the year significantly ahead. But while share appreciation is important to growing your nest egg, many investors at or near retirement need to focus on income, too. The following five dividend stocks may not be as flashy as some of the high-flying names that have lit up Wall Street in the last year, but all have done pretty well lately on top of offering dividends of at least 3%. Here are the five best dividend stocks for December:
— Bridge Investment Group Holdings Inc. (ticker: BRDG)
— Clearway Energy Inc. (CWEN)
— Jackson Financial Inc. (JXN)
— Pfizer Inc. (PFN)
— Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (SKT)
Bridge Investment Group Holdings Inc. (BRDG)
While Bridge is the smallest stock on this list, it operates a strong real estate business and has a market cap of more than $500 million. It’s also the youngest, as its initial public offering was held in July. Focused mainly on residential properties, the company has built senior living facilities and apartment complexes across the U.S. Rising real estate prices in most markets have naturally helped BRDG’s portfolio value and its ability to command higher rents. Those rents support a generous dividend, which will start in December at 24 cents per share. Admittedly, this is a new kid on the block, but it could be a stock to watch going forward.
Dividend yield: 4.5%
Clearway Energy Inc. (CWEN)
New Jersey-based utility Clearway is focused on natural gas, renewable energy and a small water utility business in the region. At just more than $4 billion in market cap, it’s certainly not the largest publicly traded power and water provider out there. However, investing in these kinds of regional utilities is a tried-and-true strategy of long-term dividend investors who are OK with trading some growth potential for stability. And lest you think that means giving up any chance of share price appreciation, keep in mind CWEN stock has slightly outperformed the S&P 500 on the year on top of a generous 34-cent dividend that is up significantly from just 21 cents per quarter in mid-2020.
Dividend yield: 3.5%
Jackson Financial Inc. (JXN)
Jackson is a $3 billion asset manager offering services that include annuities, managed funds and insurance products. Spun out of financial giant Prudential this year, the stock doesn’t have a long independent history — but it does have a few recent headlines that are very encouraging. Some big announcements included a 50 cent dividend, which is the most generous of this lot of stocks, a $300 million stock buyback plan to support the share price and a recent $1.6 billion debt offering to fund future growth.
Dividend yield: 6%
Pfizer Inc. (PFN)
It may sound like an old recommendation at this point, but investors looking for the best dividend stocks right now should still consider Pfizer above many of the alternatives. That’s because the initial pop in the stock caused by its COVID-19 vaccines has been more than just a flash in the pan. The latest catalyst is news that the Pfizer vaccine is 100% effective in adolescents, opening the door for sustained applications that some analysts say will push revenue above $100 billion for the first time next year. Shares rose more than 15% in November on this news and are showing strong momentum as we close out 2021.
Dividend yield: 2.9%
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (SKT)
A leading operator of discount outlet malls across the U.S., Tanger has come roaring back from its pandemic-related troubles in a big way with shares up more than four times their 2020 lows. This uptrend has been sustained across this year and kicked into high gear in November on the heels of tremendous earnings that showed better occupancy rates and higher margins on rent. The company beat expectations and raised guidance, and now shares are up more than 20% in the last month on top of offering a generous dividend.
Dividend yield: 3.6%