Constructing a dividend portfolio from scratch can seem like a daunting prospect to begin with, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of high-quality blue-chip dividend stocks out there, which would make great income investments for the investing beginner.
GlaxoSmithKline(LSE: GSK) is just one such example. Glaxo is a boring company. Over the past five years, shares in the group have risen by 8%, so if you're looking for the next Apple or Amazon, you should look elsewhere.
However, when it comes to income, Glaxo is an income champion. The business of selling pharmaceutical products is a highly defensive one, and Glaxo's defensive nature means that the company's dividend yield is one of the most secure in the FTSE 100. Granted, over the past five years the company has struggled to grow as some key products have come off patent. But during the previous two years, growth has returned.
From a low of 76p in 2015, earnings per share are expected to hit 111p for the year ending 31 December 2017, up 46% in two years. Some of this growth has been a direct result of weak sterling, but the firm has also managed to clock up some organic growth as new products have hit the market and sales of existing products have continued to gain traction.
The great thing about Glaxo is its product diversification. The company manufactures and sells many different pharmaceutical products, meaning that revenue is diversified and falling sales for one product will not undermine overall group sales. This is why Glaxo's dividend looks to be one of the safest in the FTSE 100.
City analysts are expecting the company to pay 80p per share in dividends this year, unchanged for the past three years. The payout is expected to be covered 1.4 times by earnings per share, and if the company hits City growth estimates, there's a chance the payout could rise to 80.3p next year for a yield of 5.1% at current prices. Shares in Glaxo currently trade at a relatively attractive forward P/E of 14.1.
Highly defensive company
United Utilities(LSE: UU) is another top dividend play for beginners. Water is the world's most valuable resource, and as one of the largest water groups in the UK, Untied is unlikely to see a fall in demand for its services anytime soon.
Unfortunately, United's highly defensive nature means that investors are willing to pay a premium to get their hands on shares in the company. At the time of writing, the shares trade at a forward P/E of 21.7. Still, despite this relatively high valuation, the shares support an attractive dividend yield of 4%, which is slightly above the FTSE 100 average of 3.7%. Put simply, if you're looking for a slow and steady, predictable income stream, you can't go wrong with United.
On the road to a million
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Rupert Hargreaves owns shares of GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. 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.