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.
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.
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.
Sometimes balancing good dividends with strong growth is hard. The best dividends tend to come from mature and stable companies, but they often don’t have the best growth prospects. This is usually fine, but it does make them vulnerable in rising rate periods. According, here are ten stocks with strong dividends and good growth potential: SAP, Motorola, NetApp, Logitech, Garmin, Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, Centurylink, and Consolidated Communications.
FINSUM: This list is very tech and telecoms heavy, but that seems a good balance if you are looing for both growth and strong dividends.
Tech stocks and large caps have been getting all the headlines this year. There is increasingly a fear that only a handful of high-powered large stocks are driving the market. However, the reality is different, as small caps have been doing great. In fact, small caps have actually outpaced even the tech giants in appreciation this year. That is a very healthy sign for the market as it shows expanding breadth, which is typically a sign of a strong bull market that will continue. According to Bob Doll, famed portfolio manager from Nuveen, “Bull markets eventually end, and typically by the time you get to the peak, breadth is gone … This is a broad market move. It’s a good thing. It’s healthy.”.
FINSUM: We agree that this is very good news for the market. Even better, strong earnings growth has tempered high valuations, making things just a bit more reasonable.