The coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc for income investors, with many top FTSE 100 companies cancelling their dividends. Today, I’m going to look at three stocks yielding 5%, or more, whose dividends haven’t been cut. I reckon these could be the safest dividend yields in the FTSE 100 today.
If you’re thinking about topping up your Stocks and Shares ISA before the tax year ends on 5 April, this is the kind of stock I’d buy.
The most boring FTSE 100 stock?
National Grid (LSE: NG) isn’t the kind of stock that excites many investors. But perhaps it should be. So far this year, the National Grid share price is broadly unchanged. By my estimation, it’s the sixth-best performer in the FTSE 100 over the last six months.
I can see two big attractions which make me want to own this stock. In the UK, National Grid charges energy suppliers for access to its gas and electricity networks. This provides a fairly stable income that’s not directly exposed to gas and electricity prices.
I also like the group’s US business, which operates in the northeast and now generates about half of National Grid’s profits. This provides geographic diversification that’s not available to other listed UK utilities.
The shares now offer a forecast yield of about 5.2%. I think this is a very safe income buy.
Safer than houses
My next FTSE 100 pick is motor insurer Admiral (LSE: ADM). I think we can be pretty sure that when the pandemic is over, most of us will have no choice but to return to our cars.
The motor insurance market is fairly mature in the UK, but Admiral is one of the largest names in this space. It’s also by far the most profitable listed UK motor insurer and is investing overseas to maintain growth.
The group’s skilled underwriting and unusual business model means it doesn’t have to hold as much capital (cash) as most other insurers. This results in a fantastic level of profitability — Admiral generates a return on equity of about 50% in most years.
Last year, the group was able to return 95% of its earnings to shareholders through dividend payouts. Unlike many companies, Admiral is able to do this safely and repeatedly. In 2018, the figure was 92%.
Admiral shares currently yield about 5.8%. I believe this is an exceptional business and a great long-term buy.
A buy-and-forget stock
My final choice is telecoms giant Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD). In the UK, we tend to think of Vodafone as a mobile phone company. But in Europe, this FTSE 100 group is also one of the largest broadband providers.
Chief executive Nick Read was previously the group’s finance boss and is gradually consolidating the business and returning it to growth. One of Vodafone’s strength is its cash generation, which supports a generous dividend.
This year’s forecast payout looks safe enough to me and should provide a yield of about 7%, based on the Vodafone share price at the time of writing (116p). I don’t see any reason to worry about the impact of the coronavirus on this stock. Countries in lockdown are depending more heavily than ever on high-speed connectivity and telephone services.
I see Vodafone shares as a good ISA buy at any level below around 150p.
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Roland Head has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Admiral Group. 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.