My top 3 dividend stocks for 2018

Here’s a slightly contrarian look at some income prospects for 2018.

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When I’m asked which dividend stocks I like best for the long term, I’ll typically choose FTSE 100 ones.

But it’s the end of the year, and that’s always a good time to take an different look, so here are three alternatives that I think could be very good payers in the years to come.

Recovering miner

Mining and commodities superstar Glencore (LSE: GLEN) has been through such tough times that some were even thinking the unthinkable — that a company as big as this might even go bust.

The commodities cycle can be tough, and the latest one was close to being a killer. But Glencore has come bouncing back, and is scheduled to return to profit this year with a pre-tax forecast of £5.2bn — and that would rise to £5.8bn on 2018 forecasts.

At the interim stage this year, the company reported a 68% rise in EBITDA over the same period a year previously — and, crucially, net debt came down by a further $1.6bn to $13.9bn since the end of 2016.

Commodities prices are on the upswing, Glencore’s cash is starting to flow again — and the dividend is set to come back. Admittedly the predicted 2017 yield is a modest 2.4%, but that would almost double to 3.9% on 2018 forecasts — and it would be more than twice covered.

On forward P/E multiples of only around 12, Glencore could be one of the dividend stars of 2018.

Where there’s bricks…

I’ve been bullish on the UK’s housebuilding companies for years, and though the sector’s recent meteoric growth is sure to slow, I’m still seeing a big bag of bargain stocks paying seriously handsome dividends.

Today I’m dipping into the FTSE 250 and picking Bovis Homes Group (LSE: BVS). I really don’t care that the big recovery is slackening off or that some folks are panicking about the UK property market in the wake of the Brexit vote, for one simple reason — we’re still in the midst of a chronic housing shortage, and short-term shenanigans aren’t going to change that.

In its most recent update in November, Bovis told us it expects “to have a net cash position of at least £100 million as at 31 December 2017” as trading is in line with expectations and its market remains strong — the company’s targeted completions for 2017 were fully sold at the time.

With the ordinary dividend expected to rise by 20% in 2018 to yield better than 4%, and special dividends of around 134p per share set to be paid in the three years to 2020, why wouldn’t you buy?

There’s still life in it

Perhaps my most contrarian pick is Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI), the newspaper group that has been given up as dead for years — but the company itself apparently hasn’t heard the rumours of its demise, and keeps on churning out profits.

We have a couple of flat years for EPS forecast, but as I pointed out when I last examined the company, most of the great British public are still taking newspapers to work rather than carrying Kindles and the like. And they still will — despite the lure of online everything, a disposable roll of paper that only costs pennies retains an enormous attraction.

With the shares punished on P/E ratings of only around two, forecast dividend yields are up to 8%. The company itself thinks its shares are so cheap it’s hoovering them up itself.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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