High dividend yields are almost always a welcome feature for investors. For retirees, they are often an economic lifeline as they help cover everyday expenses. But rising rates pose a risk for such stocks as their value tends to suffer as fixed income becomes more attractive. One way to combat that is with stocks with quick dividend growth. Two such examples are pipeline giants Williams Company (4.8%) and ONEOK (5%). Both have dividend rates double that of the average S&P 500 stock, but they are also expected to grow those dividends (and their cash flow) at double digit annual rates. The two companies expect to grow their dividends by 12.5% and 10% respectively (from already high levels).
FINSUM: Given how high these dividends are already, the growth rate on them should be enough to offset any rate rise-related losses.
Rising rates are definitively upon us. The Fed is poised to hike very soon and is likely to do so again before the end of the year. Some popular sectors, especially those with good dividends—REITs, utilities, telecoms—can suffer badly in rising rate periods. Luckily there are several ETFs that can help advisors hedge their exposure. The most common rate hedged ETFs are bond-based and use a strategy of buying higher-yielding corporate bonds and hedging their rate risk by short-selling Treasuries. The strategy seems to work well. For instance, the iShares Interest Rate Hedged Corporate Bond ETF (LQDH) gained about 11% between the 10-year Treasury’s low in July 2016 to now, while its unhedged cousin, the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD) lost 0.45%.
FINSUM: That is quite a margin between the two funds, which is a testament to how well the strategy performs in rising rate periods. There are several similar funds out there, and they seem like a good idea right now.
There has been a lot of doom and gloom about the risks of an inverted yield curve lately. An inverted curve is often seen as the best and most reliable indicator of recession, as it has accurately preceded the last several US recessions. Some are saying this time may be different as market conditions and central bank created stimulus have warped markets. Well, despite the fact that many hate the “this time will be different” mantra, it may actually be true in this case. In particular, the inverted yield curve has only been reliable in the US, whereas in Japan and the UK it is not a good indicator. This means the indicator is by no means universal, and gives weight to the idea that an inversion does not necessarily mean a recession is coming.
FINSUM: The Japanese example is particularly interesting to us as the BOJ has long had extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy. In that sense it may be the best case study for how an inversion could play out this time.
Rising rates are upon us. The economy is red hot and a Fed rate hike is imminent, with another likely coming in December. This puts many sectors and stocks at risk. So what are the best sectors and ETFs to invest in right now? Three sectors that stand to benefit are financials, technology, and consumer discretionary, so buying stocks and ETFs there appears a good bet. For technology, Invesco has a momentum focused fund for tech leaders called the DWA Technology Momentum ETF (PTF) which seems interesting. In consumer discretionary, the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Fund (XLY) gives good coverage.
FINSUM: All of these bets are cyclical (meaning the sectors benefit because the economy is strengthening when rates rise, which boost consumer spending). Banks are a little bit more compelling to us though, as they benefit from an improved economy, but they also directly gain from rising rates through a better net interest margin.
REITs are a tough area to invest in right now. On the one hand they look vulnerable because of the rising rate environment, but they have also surged recently at the same time as offering enticing dividends for investors. The answer, then, may be to find undervalued REITs, and Barron’s has put out an article helping to do just that. Here are some REITs the publication highlights: Invitation Homes, Front Yard Residential, Digital Realty Trust, InterXion Holding, LaSalle Hotel Properties, and Extended Stay America.
FINSUM: REITs tend to have very good dividends, but tend to suffer during periods of rising rates because of this. They seem like a good source of income right now, but need to be chosen very carefully.