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4 Top Dividend Stocks To Watch Amid Recession Concerns

June 26, 2022 9:35 AM EDT

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Check Out These Dividend Stocks For Your Late June Watchlist

As the stock market appears to be attempting a recovery, there remains plenty of uncertainty. Thus, dividend stocks could be on the minds of investors. For one, companies that can pay dividends to their shareholders are often those with a track record of profitability. Many of them are likely to continue paying dividends for the foreseeable future. What's more, some of these companies with a long history of bumping their annual dividend can also offer investors some peace of mind. When a firm manages to increase its dividends even through a pandemic, a war, or a recession, it says a lot about the company's financial standing and commitment to its shareholders.

A prime example of a dividend stock would be AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV). The pharmaceutical company's board of directors on Thursday declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.41 per share. Since the company's establishment in 2013, AbbVie has raised its dividend by more than 250%. As it stands, ABBV stock now yields a 3.8% annual dividend yield. However, it is also worth mentioning that not all dividend stocks are great investments. With that in mind, here's a list of top dividend stocks you might want to watch in the stock market right now.

Dividend Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Today

Darden Restaurants

The first dividend stock we have today is Darden Restaurants. The company is a multi-brand restaurant operator that owns two fine dining chains, Eddie V's and The Capital Grille. Not only that, as Darden also owns six casual dining restaurant chains. These would include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, and Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen. For a sense of scale, the company has over 1,800 restaurant locations and more than 175,000 employees, making it one of the world's largest full-service restaurant companies. Currently, Darden boasts an annual dividend yield of 3.8%.

On Thursday, the company posted its financials for its fiscal 2022 fourth quarter which beat Wall Street estimates on revenue and earnings. Diving in, Darden posted a revenue of $2.6 billion, increasing by 14.2% and exceeding estimates of $2.54 billion. Darden owes this to an 11.7% increase in blended same-restaurant sales and sales from 33 net new restaurants. As for its profits, Darden reported earnings of $2.24 per share, topping the consensus estimate of $2.21 per share. Additionally, the company also declared a quarterly dividend of $1.21 per share, a 10% jump from its previous quarter. All things considered, would you be interested in buying DRI stock?

DRI stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Merck

Next up, we have Merck, a multinational pharmaceutical company. It has been a leader in the industry for over 130 years and has brought many life-saving medicines and vaccines to millions of people. It also continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten both people and animals. This would include cancer, infectious diseases, and emerging animal diseases. Over the past year, MRK stock has risen by about 20%. Besides, Merck offers an annual dividend yield of 3% and in late May, it declared a quarterly dividend of $0.69.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merck may be eyeing the acquisition of biotech firm Seagen (NASDAQ: SGEN), citing people familiar with the matter. And now, it would seem that talks have picked up the pace and the companies are scheduled to meet to discuss matters over. In any case, this acquisition could make a lot of sense for Merck as it would beef up its cancer-drug portfolio considerably. If the deal were to happen, it would be one of the largest takeovers of the year, given Seagen's market value of approximately $28 billion. However, it was also cautioned that the deal may be tricky to pull off due to potential regulatory challenges. As the story unfolds, will you be keeping an eye on MRK stock?

MRK stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

FedEx

FedEx is a multinational conglomerate that focuses on e-commerce, transportation, and services. In brief, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively, and innovating digitally under the respected FedEx brand. It also strives to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. As it stands, FedEx now offers an annual dividend yield of 2.0%. On June 14, the company increased its quarterly dividend by 53.3% to $1.15.

On Thursday, FedEx reported its fourth-quarter financials for fiscal 2022. For starters, FedEx brought in a revenue of $24.4 billion, up from $22.6 billion in 2021. Moving on, it posted a quarterly net income of $1.8 billion, or $6.87 a share. To point out, this represents an increase from 2021's net income of $1.36 billion or $5.01 per share. Looking ahead, CEO Raj Subramaniam added, "Our foundational investments have set the stage for a strong fiscal 2023. As we move forward, our focus will be on revenue quality and lowering our cost to serve. I am honored to lead our dedicated global team who enable FedEx to lead the industry from a position of strength." Given the positive sentiment, does FDX stock have a spot on your watchlist?

FDX Stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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J.M. Smucker

Finally, we have The J.M. Smucker Company, also known simply as Smucker. The company's business units can be segmented into consumer foods, pet foods, and coffee. Its flagship brand, Smucker's, produces fruit preserves, peanut butter, syrups, and more. Besides its namesake brand, the company also has other food and coffee brands such as Jif, Knott's Berry Farm, Folgers, and more under its brand portfolio. Earlier this month, the company posted its financial results for the fourth quarter of its 2022 fiscal year ending April 30, 2022.

Jumping right in, the company reported net sales of $2.03 billion for the quarter. Compared to the same period last year, this is an increase of $113.6 million or 6%. The company saw its U.S. retail pet food and retail coffee sales rise by 6% and 11% respectively. As for its earnings, Smucker brought in a net income of $202.1 million, a commendable increase of 37% from a year ago. Accordingly, its adjusted earnings per share were $2.23, up by 18% year-over-year. In the same report, the company also provided its fiscal year 2023 outlook. Namely, it expects net sales to grow by 3.5% to 4.5%. With this solid quarter in the books, should you add SJM stock to your portfolio?

SJM stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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