The Best FTSE 100 Dividend Stocks to Watch

Roberto Rivero

Dividend stocks offer investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolio whilst earning regular income, which can either be kept as cash or reinvested. 

The UK’s benchmark index, the FTSE 100, is comprised of the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) by market capitalisation, many of which are generous dividend payers. In this article, we will highlight 3 of the best FTSE 100 dividend stocks for investors to consider for additional income in 2024. 

How to Pick the Top FTSE 100 Dividend Stocks 

Before we dive into our picks for the top FTSE 100 dividend stocks to watch in 2024, it is worth quickly identifying some of the metrics to consider when picking dividend stocks and which we ourselves have considered in writing this article.

  • Dividend Yield
    • Annual dividend per share as a percentage of current share price.
  • Dividend Coverage Ratio
    • How many times could the company pay its dividends with its current net income?
  • Dividend Payout Ratio
    • Annual dividend per share as a percentage of Earnings per Share (EPS).
  • Continuous Dividend Payments
    • Has the company got a proven history of continuously paying dividends? 
  • Payout Growth
    • Have dividend payments been growing over time? 
  • Debt
    • High debt can be a red flag for dividend stocks, as it may impact a company’s ability to make future payouts.

The Best FTSE 100 Dividend Stocks to Watch

The FTSE 100 has a reputation for being home to many companies which, whilst not offering spectacular growth prospects, do pay handsome dividends. But what are the best FTSE 100 dividend stocks for 2024?

Top FTSE 100 Dividend Stocks
British American Tobacco
Rio Tinto
National Grid

British American Tobacco 

Whilst many may feel morally opposed to investing in tobacco, there is no escaping the fact that it has a long history of providing shareholder value. Tobacco companies tend to generate a lot of cash, which allows them to reward shareholders with attractive dividends.

British American Tobacco (BAT) operates in around 180 countries and is one of the largest tobacco companies in the world by market capitalisation.

At the time of writing, BAT is one of the FTSE 100 highest dividend yield stocks, with a yield of 10%. It has a track record of increasing dividend payments for more than 20 years, growing from 29.00p per share in 2000 to 230.88p per share in 2023, with this latest dividend covered 1.6 times by earnings.

Of course, the risks associated with investing in BAT and its peers are well-publicised. Increasing awareness of the dangers of smoking have led to a long-term decline in the number of smokers worldwide and industry regulation is constantly becoming stricter.

However, BAT remains profitable, with an operating margin of 44.8% in the first half of 2023. The company is also pivoting away from relying on cigarettes by investing heavily in next-generation products.

Whilst these products currently only make up a small portion of total revenue – 12% in H1 2023 - it’s a portion which is growing quickly, with revenue increasing 61.4% year on year in the first half of 2023.

Rio Tinto 

Rio Tinto is the second-largest mining company in the world and is the next entry on our list of top FTSE 100 dividend stocks.

Like many mining stocks, Rio Tinto has a long history of generous payouts to shareholders. However, in 2022, its annual dividend dropped sharply. On the face of it, this sounds bad, but it’s worth looking at the whole picture.

Although it is a diversified miner, the bulk of Rio Tinto’s revenue comes from iron ore. In 2021, with iron ore prices at historic highs, Rio Tinto reported record earnings and, subsequently, declared bumper dividends to reward shareholders.

Given the cyclical nature of the mining industry, part of Rio Tinto’s dividend policy is to supplement ordinary dividends during periods of strong earnings. Consequently, when iron ore prices and earnings dropped in 2022, so too did the company’s dividend payments.

If we look beyond the bumper year of 2021 then, although there are a few instances where ordinary dividends have decreased or remained the same, the overall trend is one of growth. Over the last 15 years, Rio Tinto’s annual ordinary dividend has a compound annual growth rate of 8%. At the time of writing, the FTSE 100 dividend stock has a yield of 5.84%.

Depicted: Admirals MetaTrader 5Rio Tinto Weekly Chart. Date Range: 2 July 2017 – 27 December 2023. Date Captured: 27 December 2023. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. 

National Grid

When picking dividend stocks, it’s important to remember that payouts are never guaranteed. If a company’s earnings take a hit even the most reliable dividend payers may be forced to cut or halt payouts.

Therefore, with high interest rates and the UK’s economy stuttering heading into 2024, dividend investors should try to identify companies that can rely on strong earnings throughout economic turbulence. This is what we have done with the next of our top FTSE 100 dividend stocks.

National Grid owns and operates electricity and natural gas transmission networks throughout Great Britain, where it enjoys a near total monopoly. It’s the only company licensed to transmit electricity in England and Wales, meaning all electricity generated in these countries has to pass through its network.

Regardless of what happens in the economy, we can be sure that people will continue using electricity. Consequently, National Grid should be able to rely on a consistent flow of revenue for their much-needed services.

At the time of writing, National Grid shares have a dividend yield of 5.3% and have continuously hiked payouts for more than 20 years, rising from 12.47p per share in 2000 to 55.44p in 2023. This doesn’t represent extraordinary growth, but these predictable increases coupled with its resilient business is what makes this one of the FTSE 100 dividend stocks to watch.

However, slightly concerning is the company’s debt. In the first half of 2023, net debt rose to £44 billion. That’s a lot of debt, which could create problems for the company down the road, particularly with interest rates at their current levels.

Depicted: Admirals MetaTrader 5 – National Grid Weekly Chart. Date Range: 18 June 2017 – 14 December 2023. Date Captured: 14 December 2023. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

FTSE 100 Highest Dividend Yield Stocks 

Now that we have revealed the best FTSE 100 dividend stocks to watch in 2024, to round things off, we have compiled a list of the current ten FTSE 100 highest dividend yielding stocks.

FTSE 100 Highest Yielding Dividend Stocks:
Company Dividend Yield
Vodafone (VOD) 11.90%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 10.48%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 10.09%
M&G (MNG) 9.19%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 8.15%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 8.12%
St James's Palace (STJ) 7.82%
Aviva (AV.) 7.38%
Glencore (GLEN) 7.36%
NatWest Group (NWG) 7.20%
FTSE 100 Average Dividend Yield 3.88%

Data Captured: 14 December 2023.

It’s important to remember that, whilst dividend yield is an important metric to consider, it is also important to look beyond it.

A high dividend yield can be indicative of a falling share price, and share prices fall for a reason. If the company is struggling then it may be wise to look elsewhere. Moreover, if a company’s high dividend is unsustainable compared to its earnings, then it is possible that its dividends will drop in the future.

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FAQ – FTSE 100 Best Dividends

How many FTSE 100 companies pay dividends?

In 2023, 95 of the companies listed in the FTSE 100 declared dividend payments.

Which FTSE 100 companies pay quarterly dividends?

Unilever, British American Tobacco, HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline, Imperial Brands, BP and Shell all pay quarterly dividends at the time of writing.

What is the highest dividend yield in the FTSE 100?

Vodafone has the highest dividend yield in the FTSE 100, at the time of writing. However, please note that dividend yields are based on a company’s share price and, consequently, fluctuate throughout the trading day.

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