Equity markets are looking pretty shaky at the moment, and some income investors with new money to invest are feeling a bit nervous.
Who can blame them?
Several of Canada’s former dividend darlings have been gutted in the past year, and most of the people interested in buying dividend stocks for income are retirees who rely on the payouts to supplement their pensions.
This group normally can’t afford to take a big hit on their initial investment, or even worse, see the distribution get cut or cancelled.
Bank of Nova Scotia
Canada’s third-largest bank is also the country’s most international one, and that’s why investors should start taking a closer look.
Bank of Nova Scotia operates in more than 50 countries, but its main focus is on Latin America. In the past few years, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Peru set up a trade bloc called the Pacific Alliance. The group’s objective is to increase trade through the free movement of workers, goods, and capital.
Bank of Nova Scotia realizes the long-term potential for providing financial services to this group and has invested billions in its operations in the four countries.
That bet is starting to pay off as loan growth in the international operations is outpacing Canada. The company still gets the majority of its earnings from its Canadian operations, but the international revenue stream provides important diversification, especially as the Canadian economy looks like it is headed for a rough patch.
Bank of Nova Scotia trades at an attractive 10.7 times forward earnings and just 1.7 times book value. The company pays a quarterly dividend of $0.68 per share that yields about 4.2%.
Investors often overlook Inter in favour of its larger peers, but the company plays a key role in the transportation of western Canadian oil.
In fact, Inter carried about 35% of oil sands production and 15% of the region’s conventional oil output last year. The energy industry is going through some difficult times, but Inter’s revenues are not reliant on commodity prices, and its customers are large businesses that will continue producing oil for decades.
Inter continues to grow, despite the difficult environment. In Q1 the company completed $1.6 billion in projects along its Cold Lake and Polaris pipeline system in Alberta. The company is also building a 400,000 barrel crude oil storage facility in Saskatchewan. And just last week, Inter announced the purchase of several liquids storage facilities in Europe, where it already has a significant presence.
Inter pays a monthly dividend of 12.25 cents per share, which yields about 5%. If you don’t need the cash, Inter has an attractive dividend reinvestment plan that allows shareholders to buy stock at a 5% discount.
The company’s payout ratio in the first quarter was 73%, so the dividend is very safe. The stock also has an impressive track record of capital appreciation, rising more than 150% in the past five years.
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.