It’s been a tough few weeks for investors during this market crash. Most of us have seen the balance in our accounts shrink dramatically.
While it’s scary to see your investments decline, bear markets represent a great opportunity to buy shares of high-quality companies at a discount. This market crash is an especially appealing time to buy stocks. Share prices should quickly rebound once the coronavirus panic is over.
One stock is faring better than most
As of this writing, BCE is trading at $53.68. While the S&P/TSX Composite Index is down almost 19% year to date, BCE has fallen approximately half as much, with a 10% decline.
Currently, the company pays a dividend of 6%. The next payout is scheduled for April 15 and without question, BCE will honor its commitment. BCE’s dividend performance is a hallmark of the company. According to CEO Mirko Bibic, there are absolutely no plans to change that.
In an interview last week with BNN Bloomberg, Bibic said that while it’s too soon to make predictions for 2020, the business fundamentals of the company are sound. As an example of investor confidence in the company, Bibic announced BCE had just completed a $1 billion debt financing in its telecom sector.
Business carries on during the market crash
Since the crisis began, usage of the company’s home internet services is up 60% during the day. Despite the heavy traffic, BCE’s network is still running at 99.95%.
Over the past few years, the company has made significant capital expenditures. Now those investments are paying off, ensuring the networks can maintain the same level of service despite the massive increase in demand.
The company recently launched its fixed wireless home internet service that provides home internet services to over 300 rural communities throughout the country, covering over 250,000 homes. Since the crisis began, there has been a 50% surge in usage.
Similar to most companies during this market crash, BCE has adjusted the way it does business. The company has encouraged its customers to use self-service apps or go online for assistance with technical issues.
The company has also published more information for self-install instructions so that customers can get guidance from technicians, but do the installation themselves.
The bottom line
BCE is a dependable company with a stable business and a reliable dividend. At the end of the fourth quarter, the company increased its dividend by 5% and remains committed to annual dividend growth. In the last 10 years, BCE has increased its dividend by almost 120%.
BCE’s stock has risen approximately 500% since the late 1990s. During this time, the company has grown to be one of Canada’s largest telecom services company with a 100% stake in Bell Media, Canada’s largest integrated media company.
Investors should consider adding BCE to their holdings during this market crash.
At its current price, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pick up BCE, a company that can provide predictable wealth creation for decades to come.
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Fool contributor Cindy Dye owns shares of BCE INC.