5 Low Beta, High-Yield Stocks for Your Low-Risk Income Portfolio

red and white road sign with Volatile Market message in black type

Key Points

  • The VIX is rising, and the S&P 500 is trending lower with fears of inflation and rising rates growing. 
  • Low-beta stocks can protect a portfolio from market downturns. 
  • High yield can amplify returns for market-beating performance in the near, mid, and long term. 
  • 5 stocks we like better than SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

The risk to the market is mounting, and with it, volatility. The VIX is up nearly 50% in the last month and heading higher, which means the S&P 500 could be heading lower. Based on the outlook for persistent inflation and higher-for-longer interest rates, the S&P 500 could be in for a volatile few years, which raises the question of how to prepare. One method is to target low-beta stocks. Low-beta stocks trade with less volatility than the S&P 500, which can lower risk in a portfolio while opening the door to outperformance. 

Low-beta stocks tend to fall less during downturns and have less ground to make up during upswings, a recipe for long-term outperformance. If you add a high yield and dividend reinvestment, the potential for market-beating returns is compounded. 

Verizon: It's Got Value and Yield 

A screen using Marketbeat's Stock Screener filtering for stocks with a beta below 0.5 and yield above 4% turns up an interesting list. Surprisingly, a half dozen or so Chinese-based financial institutions made the cut but were excluded from this list. The #1 low beta, high yield stock outside of China is Verizon NYSE: VZ, which comes with more attractions than those. 

Regarding beta and yield, the stock trades with an ultra-low beta of 0.37, and because shares are already in the bargain basement, they may not fall much further. As for yield, the stock pays more than 8%, with shares at a multi-year low. Other attractions include the low 6X earnings multiple and the analysts' belief it should be trading 15% higher at the low end of its target range. 

vz stock chart

Bristol-Myers Squibb Falls into the Bargain Basement 

Bristol-Myers Squibb NYSE: BMY has come under pressure due to Medicare repricing negotiations, and the stock is now in the bargain bin. It's trading at only 8X its earnings outlook while paying a 4.0% dividend yield. The yield is reliably safe relative to the 2023 metrics and the outlook for 2024; the beta is attractive with the stock at these price levels and less than half the S&P 500. 

Analysts have been lowering their price target this year and have the stock on the Most Downgraded list, but that is another opportunity. The low price target assumes the stock is fairly valued at critical support levels near the two-year low; the consensus target assumes the market is worth 22% more. 

bmy stock

Gilead Has a Healthy Dividend Payment 

Gilead Sciences, Inc. NASDAQ: GILD is another bio-pharma trading near critical support levels, offering value and yield to investors. The stock is trading near 11X its earnings with near-double-digit growth in the earnings forecast for next year. The dividend is worth more than 4.0% to investors, with the shares trading near $73.50 and the mid-point of a significant trading range. The beta for this stock is running near 0.37%, and analysts are buying it. 

Marketbeat tracks 18 analysts with a consensus of Moderate Buy. That's up YOY from Hold with a price target that's down compared to last year but rising in the near term. The consensus assumes about 22% of upside for this market. 

gild stock chart

Duke Energy Yields Nearly 5.0%

Duke Energy NYSE: DUK made the cut with a yield of 4.8% and a beta near 0.45. This utility company is expected to grow earnings by 6.5% in 2024 to outpace expected distribution growth by several hundred basis points. This has the company set up to sustain dividend increases at a low to mid-single-digit pace for the foreseeable future. Analysts rate it at Hold and see it advancing 7% at the low end of their target range.

duk stock chart

Public Storage: High-yield, Low-beta REIT

Public Storage NYSE: PSA is a REIT focused on public storage utility properties. It trades with a beta near 0.45 and pays 4.7% in yield. The company is expected to sustain revenue and earnings growth in 2024 and extend its record of distribution increases. The analysts rate it a Moderate Buy and see it advancing 20%. 

psa stock chart

Should you invest $1,000 in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust right now?

Before you consider SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, you'll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust wasn't on the list.

While SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust currently has a "hold" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

View The Five Stocks Here

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Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Public Storage (PSA)
4.7552 of 5 stars
$288.67+0.6%4.16%26.22Moderate Buy$305.00
Duke Energy (DUK)
4.423 of 5 stars
$103.89+1.0%3.95%26.10Moderate Buy$101.31
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
4.9984 of 5 stars
Gilead Sciences (GILD)
4.8833 of 5 stars
Verizon Communications (VZ)
4.9322 of 5 stars
$40.06-0.5%6.64%14.95Moderate Buy$44.36
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY)N/A$529.45+0.1%1.27%N/AN/AN/A
Compare These Stocks  Add These Stocks to My Watchlist 

Thomas Hughes

About Thomas Hughes

  • tmhughes.writeon@gmail.com

Contributing Author

Technical and Fundamental Analysis


Thomas Hughes has been a contributing writer for MarketBeat since 2019.

Areas of Expertise

Technical analysis, the S&P 500; retail, consumer, consumer staples, dividends, high-yield, small caps, technology, economic data, oil, cryptocurrencies


Associate of Arts in Culinary Technology

Past Experience

Market watcher, trader and investor for numerous websites. Founded Passive Market Intelligence LLC to provide market research insights. 

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