Equities

(New York)
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.

(New York)

The market has been doing well lately and movements have been relatively calm. That may all be set to change, however, as a big driver of volatility is set to emerge. That driver is the so-called “blackout” period. The blackout refers to the month before earnings releases where companies are barred from repurchasing their own shares. Company buybacks have been a major tailwind for markets this year, with almost $400 bn of buybacks happening in the first half alone, up almost 50% from the prior year. Volatility has been historically higher in blackout periods.


FINSUM: So we are of two minds on this. On the one hand, blackout periods happen very frequently, so why would this one be special? On the other hand, there could be a lot of political and geopolitical (i.e. trade wars) turbulence in the next month, which means this particular period could prove very volatile.

(New York)

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.

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