Investors need to look past any dividend raise to evaluate the fundamentals underpinning it.

At least incrementally so, since both companies recently declared dividend raises. It’s an interesting time to hike a payout, as the tech sector generally isn’t in favor with investors these days. So with the combination of enhanced dividend and somewhat tamped-down stock price, are both stocks buys now? Here’s what I think. Image source: Getty Images. 1. Apple

It’s sometimes hard to believe that Apple, which reinstated its quarterly dividend to much fanfare after suspending it way back in 1995, has been consistently paying out a dividend for nearly 10 years now. The latest payout, dispensed in mid-May, was $0.23 per share — nearly 5% higher than its predecessor. That’s completely in character for Apple, which has declared a dividend raise at the start of every one of its fiscal years since that 2012 reinstatement.

And why shouldn’t it? The enduring popularity of its constantly updated (and premium-priced) line of hardware, led by the sturdy iPhone, keeps the growth engine running. This is aided by encouraging rises in service revenue related to those cool devices. In its most recently reported quarter, services — a comparatively higher-margin category — notched an all-time record for net sales, at just under $20 billion.

As a result, free cash flow (FCF) has shot dramatically higher of late, rising from just under $59 billion in fiscal 2019 to almost $93 billion a mere two years later. That’s far more than enough to take care of Apple’s dividend payouts, which totaled less than $14.5 billion in fiscal 2021.

Apple has been relatively resilient during the current Great Tech Stock Sell-Off, holding its value better than many of its peers. Its share price has gotten dinged, though, and that plus the dividend raise now gives the stock a 0.6% yield.

I don’t think that level of dividend is enough to make Apple a buy on its own, but the company’s strength as a maker of high-demand devices and its effectiveness in creating strong new revenue streams portends continued growth. Put it this way: I’ve owned Apple stock for quite some time, and I’m not planning on selling those shares anytime soon. 2. Electronic Arts

Not to be outdone, Electronic Arts also lifted its quarterly payout recently. The veteran video game publisher declared that its next disbursement would be $0.19 per share, for a 12% raise.

That double-digit number reflects the obvious confidence EA has in its future. Bolstered by a diverse lineup of franchise titles enjoyed by longtime fans and new players alike, the company has held up rather well now that the stay-at-home phase of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be behind us (at least for the moment).

In EA’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, net bookings, the key revenue metric for video game companies, rose by almost 20% year over year. That contrasted vividly with the decline suffered by arch-rival Activision in its latest reported quarter, and it was a telling indication that EA has some very sticky games on the market.

EA is right on top of shifts in the ever-evolving video game industry. Its top line is growing from items like in-title purchases, and subscription fees from dedicated users who like having constant access to the wares.

While those headline quarterly figures missed the average analyst estimates , smart investors snapped up shares of the company regardless — although the stock is still down from its thick-of-the-pandemic highs. Those investors liked the beefy 36% year-over-year increase in net revenue to over $1.8 billion, and the $225 million net income that nearly tripled over that stretch of time.

As with Apple, this company’s dividend yield isn’t going to earn it any trophies (in fact, it matches the iPhone maker’s light 0.6% yield). So the dividend on its own isn’t sufficient reason for investors to plow into the stock. Regardless, I feel EA is a buy; those numerous revenue streams should continue to flow, thanks to the constantly refreshing updates to franchise titles and tempting new games. I think it’ll keep scoring wins for its shareholders.

There’s still plenty of time to take advantage of EA’s dividend raise, by the way. The new payout will be dispensed on June 22 to investors of record as of June 8. Should you invest $1,000 in Apple Inc. right now?

Before you consider Apple Inc., you’ll want to hear this.

Our award-winning analyst team just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now… and Apple Inc. wasn’t […]

source These 2 Tech Giants Just Declared Dividend Raises. Are They Buys?

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