Dividend stocks, often known for their long-term outperformance and stable cash flows, offer investors steady passive income and portfolio stability. Investors often seek dividend stocks for passive income, but some also offer strong growth prospects. Indeed, many of the companies who have paid dividends for an extended period of time offer such balance to long-term investors. 

First, reliable dividend stocks are typically well-established companies, providing confidence in uncertain times. Second, they tend to be less volatile than growth-focused stocks, maintaining stability during market turbulence. Lastly, when these dividend payers grow, it’s often a sustainable expansion.

Let’s dive into three top picks for investors seeking robust dividend growth and relative stability over the long term. 

Realty Income (O)

Realty Income Corp. (NYSE:O) is renowned for its consistent dividend payouts spanning over five decades. Its diverse portfolio of retail and commercial properties ensures steady rental income, even in economic downturns.

It reports a robust 99% Q2 2023 occupancy rate and lease renewals at higher rates. Although its debt has risen to $19.6 billion, the company’s strong cash flow, driven by high occupancy and rising rents, fuels ongoing dividend growth, making it a top REIT choice for September.

Investors value triple-net leases for their extended terms and tenants’ responsibility for all property costs. This offers a stable income source suitable for fixed-rate bonds, guarding against rate fluctuations. Realty Income specializes in resilient sectors, making it one of just two REITs labeled as dividend aristocrats with an A- or higher credit rating. 

Furthermore, it possesses over 13,100 real estate properties, mainly leased on long-term net lease agreements. Recently, it acquired Blackstone’s 22% stake in the Bellagio casino for $300 million, also investing $650 million in preferred equity. This investment positions Realty Income to capitalize on Las Vegas’ resurgent market.

Duke Energy (DUK)

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) stands strong in the utilities sector, capitalizing on steady demand and regulatory protection.

Based in cost-effective Carolina, it boasts geographical and economic advantages for its vast customer base. Its public utility status, constituting a natural monopoly, adds to its long-term investor appeal.

Despite a recent earnings miss, Duke’s Q2 revenue reached a remarkable $6.58 billion, surpassing expectations by $20 million. The company reaffirmed its 2023 earnings-per-share forecast, anticipating steady 5% to 7% growth in the coming years. With a 4.5% dividend yield and a forward-thinking EV charging subscription service in North Carolina, Duke Energy is poised for a bright future.

The reliable utility firm of Duke Energy maintains consistent earnings and revenue growth, resulting in a sustainable 3% dividend increase. The company’s future looks promising, particularly with investments aligned with the growing electric vehicle trend.

Restaurant Brands (QSR)

Restaurant Brands (NYSE:QSR) is the fast-food giant behind Tim Horton’s, Burger King, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, and Firehouse Subs. These brands have driven impressive growth, fueling a robust dividend yield of around 3.3%. 

Under the leadership of Patrick Doyle, formerly with Domino’s (NYSE:DPZ), the company overcame challenges, achieving remarkable results. This includes a 9.7% revenue increase in May, 10% global comparable sales growth in Q1, and a 15.6% surge in adjusted EBITDA to $588 million.

Appointing Doyle as executive chairman last year was a wise move for QSR, given his successful tenure at Domino’s. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) anticipates improved financial performance through QSR’s focus on “unit economics” and substantial international restaurant growth. They have set an $82 price target for QSR stock.

On the date of publication, Chris MacDonald has a LONG position in QSR. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines

Chris MacDonald’s love for investing led him to pursue an MBA in Finance and take on a number of management roles in corporate finance and venture capital over the past 15 years. His experience as a financial analyst in the past, coupled with his fervor for finding undervalued growth opportunities, contribute to his conservative, long-term investing perspective.

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