Looking for cheap blue chips with monster dividend yields? Well I think Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) is one FTSE 100 share worthy of serious attention today. It trades on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of below 7 times as I type. A 9% dividend yield should be catnip for income chasers, meanwhile.
So what makes it such a brilliant dividend play for these uncertain times? Well the insurance sector is one of the more resilient when economic conditions take a turn for the worse. It’s a quality that explains Legal & General’s recent decision to keep rewarding its shareholders with bulky payouts while a sea of other FTSE 100 shares have reduced, postponed, or axed their dividends.
It’s not just its immense defensive qualities that give the insurance giant the confidence to maintain its progressive dividend policy, however. Legal & General can also fall back on its robust balance sheet in order to keep payments growing. Its solvency ratio slipped in 2019, but as of the close of the year still stood at a chubby 174%.
Don’t just think of the business as a brilliant buy for these uncertain times, however. Its product portfolio, which includes life insurance and pensions products, allows it to capitalise on the planet’s rapidly ageing population in the new decade and beyond. And it has excellent exposure to these customers in emerging and developed economies alike.
A risky FTSE 100 share
Iron giant Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) is one FTSE 100 share I’d avoid today, though, on fears of sliding ore demand. So far, sales of the steelmaking component have held up well in spite of the Covid-19 crisis. Shipments into China, in fact, leapt 11.4% year on year to almost 96m tonnes in April.
That’s not to say that a whopping demand fall isn’t just around the corner, though. Chinese imports might be holding up but iron ore shipments into other steel-producing nations are looking more fragile.
Rio Tinto beat broker expectations last month when it announced that iron ore shipments rose 5% on an annual basis in quarter one. But with a painful and possibly prolonged global recession coming, it could find buyers for its material increasingly hard to find.
6% dividend yields
Production cuts from the likes of Vale might have supported prices of the commodity in recent months. But I worry that mill consumption could erode all over the planet. Besides, over the long term the market threatens to be swamped with elevated levels of unwanted iron ore as mining goliaths like Rio Tinto embark on project expansions and get new assets off the ground.
I don’t care about this Footsie share’s low forward P/E multiple of 10 times. Nor does its 6.6% dividend yield for 2020 appeal to me given uncertain commodity demand in the near term and beyond. I think it should be left on the shelf.
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Royston Wild 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.