If you have £1,000 to invest and don't know where to start, a portfolio of dividend stocks could be the perfect solution.
Here are two of my favourite high-yield income plays that I believe could be great buys for a starter portfolio.
Growth and income
Insurer Hastings Group(LSE: HSTG) has snowballed over the past five years and today is one of the UK's premier insurance companies.
The enterprise, which mainly sells motor insurance in the UK, has been able to outgrow the rest of the UK motor insurance industry thanks to its digital-first business model.
A focus on technology has paid off. Today the group reported a 22% rise in first-half adjusted operating profit. The number of live customer policies increased 6% year-on-year to 2.7m, pushing revenue higher by 9% overall for the first six months of calendar 2018.
And following this strong first-half performance, management is highly confident that the firm will hit City targets for growth for the full year. Indeed, the company declared within today's results release: "Hastings is well positioned to deliver in line with all of its targets during 2019 despite the competitive market and expected claims inflation."
City analysts are expecting the company to report full-year earnings per share of 22.8 p, up 18.9% year-on-year. If the business hits these targets (and at this point, there's no reason to believe that it won't), the shares are trading at a forward P/E of just 10.7, which I think undervalues Hastings' growth potential.
On top of this attractive valuation, shares in the insurer also yield 5.5%. Analysts are expecting management to increase the distribution significantly over the next two years, settling at 17p per share in 2019. If the company has this target (once again based on the group's current growth trajectory there's no reason to believe that it won't) the dividend yield could hit 7% next year.
Overall, if you are after income and growth at a reasonable price, Hastings could be worth considering.
Another UK-based insurance company I like is Admiral(LSE: ADM). It has made a name for itself over the past five years as an income champion. The group pays out the majority of its profits to shareholders, through a combination of regular and special dividends. This year, City analysts have the firm distributing 115p per share, rising to 128p per share, equivalent to a dividend yield of 6.5% for 2019.
The company reported a 45% jump in full-year profits for 2017 back in February, underlining its dividend potential. The group earned £404m for the year, and due to Admiral's capital-light business model, management was able to return a large chunk of this extra profit to investors with a 13% increase in the final dividend.
The City believes this trend can continue, albeit at a slower rate. Over the next two years, earnings are projected to increase by just under 10%.
With growth slowing, Admiral's valuation of 16 times forward earnings does look a bit on the pricey side. However, the firm's return on equity of 55% makes it the most productive company in the UK insurance industry. In my opinion, it is worth paying a premium for this sector-leading quality. So I'm not too concerned about the relatively high valuation compared to the rest of the market -- the group deserves it.
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Rupert Hargreaves owns shares in Admiral. 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.