10 Shaky Dividends That Could Harm Your Retirement

More than a third of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index have hiked their dividends in 2018, and none have cut their payout, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior industry analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

An improving economic backdrop and U.S. tax cuts have pushed first-quarter corporate earnings up by more than 15%, per data from FactSet, creating an environment that is conducive for generous dividend increases.

Despite this, several companies in the market are quite challenged. From the rise of e-commerce to regulatory changes and interest-rate volatility, a handful of factors have pushed the sustainability of 10 companies' dividends to the brink. While a payout cut is not necessarily imminent, dividend research firm Simply Safe Dividends has assigned each of these businesses a Dividend Safety Score of "Risky."

Dividend Safety Scores are a metric developed by Simply Safe Dividends to help investors avoid dividend cuts. The scores scrub a company's most important financial metrics to assess its future payout risk, and they have correctly identified more than 98% of real-time dividend cuts ahead of time since inception.

Let's take a closer look at 10 potentially unsustainable dividends that could hurt your retirement portfolio.

Uniti Group

Getty Images

Market value: $3.5 billion

Dividend yield: 12.0%

The more concentrated a company's operations are, the more pain a business can experience if something goes wrong. In Uniti Group's (UNIT, $19.96) case, this real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in fiber-optic cables generated 75% of its revenue from a single customer in 2017: Windstream (WIN).

Windstream is a regional telecom company that spun off the bulk of its fiber

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