Income is hard to come by in today’s market. Despite the recent hiccups, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index sit near historical highs. As a result, dividend yields are at depressed levels, and those investors who need income—namely, those in or nearing retirement—are in a tough spot.
An interesting area that you might not have previously considered for hefty income is international telecoms, who, like their American counterparts, produce stable cash flows and return a large chunk of it to shareholders. Here’s a few suitable candidates to get your research started.
Dialing up dividends
First and foremost is telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD), the U.K. based company that holds a $137 billion market value. Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) may be an unfamiliar name to investors in the United States, but America accounts for a major component of Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD)’s business. Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) owns a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless and receives hefty financial proceeds from this stake.
As a result, Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) has traditionally taken this cash and used it to fund dividends to its own shareholders. Recently, Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) announced a share buyback as well. According to Yahoo! Finance, Vodafone’s semi-annual dividend yields more than 5.5%.
Until recently, France Telecom SA (ADR) (NYSE:FTE) had one of the highest dividend yields available on the market. As its stock price crumbled from the devastating effects of higher taxes, stiffer competition and the ongoing economic calamity in Europe, the dividend yield soared into the mid-double digits.
However, as many investors know too well, a dividend yield that looks too good to be true is usually just that. The company’s deteriorating financials finally took their toll on the payout, and France Telecom SA (ADR) (NYSE:FTE) announced its 2013 dividend will be cut to around $1.04 per share. Even with the reduced payout, at current prices the stock still yields nearly 11% annualized.
That being said, the company’s third-quarter revenue declined only 3% year over year, so it’s beginning to look like France Telecom SA (ADR) (NYSE:FTE) is getting its business back on track.
PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (ADR) (NYSE:TLK) provides telecommunications services in Indonesia and internationally. The company operates in four segments: Personal, Corporate, Home, and Others. At the beginning of the year, it had approximately 171.1 million subscribers.