The S&P 500 index’s downturn in 2022 has pushed its dividend yield up to 1.6%. For context, this still isn’t much higher than the index’s all-time low yield of 1.1% at the height of the dot-com bubble.

The good news for yield-oriented investors is that there are still plenty of options to turn to for safe and growing income. Here are three dividend stocks with yields ranging from 6.3% to 7.9%. Image source: Getty Images. 1. British American Tobacco

British American Tobacco ‘s ( BTI -3.32%) $91 billion market capitalization makes it the second-largest tobacco company on the planet, trailing just Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM). The British multinational has more than 150 million interactions with consumers each day in 175-plus markets throughout the world.

British American Tobacco’s success is in large part due to the variety of well-known brands that it offers to consumers. The company’s iconic cigarette brands such as Camel, Newport, and Dunhill are the core of its business.

But the future of British American Tobacco’s business depends on its newer category of brands. These include the vaping industry leader known as Vuse and a heated tobacco brand called Velo, both of which have allowed the company’s non-combustible products customer base to surpass 20 million. As more consumers switch to cigarette alternatives that are thought to be less harmful, British American Tobacco believes it can grow that number to 50 million as soon as 2030.

Meanwhile, investors could see the company repurchase over $2 billion worth of shares. Shareholders already benefit from a generous 7% dividend yield that is well-covered — as evidenced by a forward dividend payout ratio of just 60%.

All in all, analysts anticipate the company will deliver 11% annual earnings growth over the next five years. And value investors will be happy to learn that they can scoop up shares at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 9.2. That’s a deep discount compared to the industry average of 12.6. 2. Energy Transfer

Energy doesn’t just magically move from point A to point B. Behind the refined gasoline that you pump into your vehicle or natural gas that you use to heat your house is the critical pipeline and storage infrastructure that made it all possible in the first place. Energy Transfer ‘s ( ET -3.63%) extensive portfolio of energy assets throughout the U.S. transports nearly one-third of all U.S. oil and natural gas on its pipelines.

Green energy is set to experience the most significant growth in the decades ahead. But natural gas (Energy Transfer’s predominant business) will likely remain the lynchpin holding the global economy together and meeting its energy needs in the decades ahead. This is why global natural gas demand is expected to increase between now and 2040.

In addition to strong fundamentals for the industry, the company itself looks solid too. Its 7.9% distribution yield was covered three times through the first half of 2022 by distributable cash flow (DCF). More growth on this front should lie ahead as Energy Transfer works to restore its annualized distribution per unit to the pre-COVID level of $1.22.

To top it all off, units of the stock are dirt cheap at a trailing 12-month price-to-DCF ratio of 5.2. 3. Verizon Communications

With nearly 115 million wireless retail connections, Verizon Communications ( VZ -2.36%) is one of the giants in the telecom industry. In recent years, smartphones have become strongly embedded in American society with the ownership rate rocketing from 35% in 2011 to 85% as of last year. And with the uses of smartphones seemingly growing each year, it’s hard to imagine that figure not trending slightly higher in the years ahead.

Verizon’s dominant position in the U.S. market, along with rising smartphone ownership rates, bodes well for the company’s future. This is why analysts believe the company’s earnings will compound at 3.4% annually through the next five years.

Verizon’s dividend payout ratio is poised to come in around 50% in 2022, which leaves room for low single-digit annual dividend growth. Paired with a whopping 6.3% dividend yield, this is enough growth for income investors to like the stock, in my opinion.

And if that isn’t enough, the company’s forward P/E ratio of 8.1 certainly bolsters the case. This is just above the telecom industry average of 7.5, which is a reasonable valuation for a company of Verizon’s quality. Should you invest $1,000 in British American Tobacco p.l.c. right now?

Before you consider British American Tobacco p.l.c., you’ll want to hear this.

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