When it comes to dividend stocks, Darden Restaurants (DRI) is a popular choice among investors. This company operates well-known brands like Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Yard House, making it a significant player in the full-service dining industry. Despite announcing mixed results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024, Darden managed to exceed analysts’ earnings expectations. However, there was a slight miss in sales, attributed to increased discounting by competitors. In fiscal 2024, Darden dished out $628 million in dividends and allocated $454 million for share repurchases. Moreover, the company raised its dividend by almost 7%, bringing it to $1.40 per share, resulting in a dividend yield of 3.5%. BTIG analyst Peter Saleh has a positive outlook on DRI stock, with a buy rating and a price target of $175. Saleh believes that Darden’s earnings per share outlook indicates double-digit total shareholder return, aligning with the company’s long-term goals.

Another dividend stock that caught the attention of Wall Street analysts is International Seaways (INSW). This tanker company offers energy transportation services for crude oil and petroleum products. With a combined dividend of $1.75 per share paid on June 26, INSW demonstrated its commitment to rewarding shareholders. Benjamin Nolan, an analyst at Stifel, reiterated a buy rating on the stock and raised the price target to $68. Nolan stated that the tanker market remains strong due to increasing global oil consumption, limited new ship supplies, and geopolitical uncertainties. He expects INSW to continue delivering high cash flows and offer substantial dividends to investors. In 2024, INSW is estimated to pay out dividends of $5.51 per share, with potential for further increases. The company’s dividend yield of over 13% makes it an attractive option for income-focused investors.

Citigroup is a banking behemoth that presents an opportunity for investors seeking dividend-paying stocks. With a quarterly dividend of 53 cents per share, Citi offers a yield of 3.3%. During its Services Investor Day on June 18, the bank expressed optimism about achieving its 2024 guidance despite macroeconomic uncertainty and potential interest rate fluctuations. Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Ramsden maintained a buy rating on Citigroup stock and increased the price target to $72. Ramsden pointed out that Citi’s strategic transformation plan is gaining momentum, leading to revised EPS estimates for the coming years. The bank’s focus on risk control and data quality, along with its emphasis on the Services business, positions it well for future growth. With a global network spanning 95 countries and a strategic focus on technology and innovation, Citigroup is poised for further market share gains. Ramsden’s positive outlook on Citi is supported by the bank’s strong fundamentals and commitment to delivering value to shareholders.

Dividend-paying stocks like Darden Restaurants, International Seaways, and Citigroup offer investors an opportunity to earn income while benefiting from potential stock price appreciation. By focusing on companies with solid financials, a history of consistent dividend payments, and growth prospects, investors can build a robust portfolio that generates sustainable returns over time. Wall Street analysts’ endorsements of these dividend stocks serve as a testament to their value and growth potential in today’s dynamic market environment.

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