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QQQ   223.38 (+0.49%)
S&P 500   3,329.62 (+0.39%)
DOW   29,348.10 (+0.17%)
QQQ   223.38 (+0.49%)
S&P 500   3,329.62 (+0.39%)
DOW   29,348.10 (+0.17%)
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7 Dividend Stocks to Help Through Market Volatility in 2020

7 Dividend Stocks to Help Through Market VolatilityPosted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 by Chris Markoch

The roller coaster ride that stocks rode in 2018, particularly in December, has shaken the faith of some investors. After all, it’s hard to watch a year of growth disappear in just a few days or even a few hours. Despite this volatility, 2019 should still be a good year to invest in stocks, but it makes sense to look for ways to combat volatility. One way to do this is by investing in dividend stocks.

For investors who lived through 2018, the stability dividend stocks provide many benefits. First, when companies pay out dividends it is generally seen as a sign that a company is financially healthy. A dividend can also be seen as a key driver of a stock’s total return. But the reason why even the most growth-oriented investor should be considering dividend stocks at this time is that they can offer potentially strong returns that can smooth out the effects of volatility.

Once a company starts to pay a dividend, their stock becomes less volatile because the dividends provide investors with consistent cash flow, and once companies issue dividend they will make every effort to maintain that dividend. In that way, the stock of dividend-paying companies will sometimes act similar to a bond instrument.

In this slide show, we’ll take a look at seven dividend stocks that offer investors the opportunity for healthy dividend yield (in some cases, the dividend yield is higher than a 10-year Treasury bill. You’ll also get to see why these companies have something to offer beyond their dividend to make them appealing to growth-oriented investors.

#1 - AT&T (NYSE:T)

AT&T logo

AT&T (NYSE: T) - For starters, let’s take a look at AT&T. One reason for investors to consider AT&T is that they offer a 6.82% dividend yield which is more than enough to compensate investors for owning a stock that fell 21.6% in 2018. Two issues that were weighing the stock down appear to have been resolved. In June of 2018, the company completed their merger with Time-Warner. And in January, the wireless company completed the sale of several of its data centers to Brookfield Infrastructure. However, from the perspective of dividend investors, the factors related to their stock are more of what you would be concerned about for a growth stock. As a dividend stock, you have to appreciate their ability to generate an enormous free cash flow. In 2019, the company is forecast to create about $26 billion in free cash which they can use to pay for their recent acquisitions (DirecTV and Time-Warner). That kind of cash will also ensure dividend investors that the company will maintain their streak of not only paying, but raising their dividend for 35 years.  In January, analysts from Citi upgraded AT&T to a buy rating. According to the analysts’ notes: “We still see AT&T in the early innings of a multi-year transition across a number of its operating segments that may require more investment before bearing the fruits of better revenue and cash flow contributions over a longer period of time.”

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. provides telecommunication, media, and technology services worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Communications, WarnerMedia, Latin America, and Xandr. The Communications segment provides wireless and wireline telecom, video, and broadband and Internet services; video entertainment services using satellite, IP-based, and streaming options; and audio programming services under the AT&T, Cricket, AT&T PREPAID, and DIRECTV brands to residential and business customers. This segment also sells handsets, wirelessly enabled computers, and wireless data cards manufactured by various suppliers for use with company's voice and data services, as well as various accessories, such as carrying cases and hands-free devices through the company-owned stores, agents, and third-party retail stores. The WarnerMedia segment primarily produces, distributes, and licenses television programming and feature films; distributes home entertainment products in physical and digital formats; and produces and distributes mobile and console games, and consumer products, as well as offers brand licensing services. It also operates cable networks, multichannel premium pay television, and over-the-top services; and digital media properties. The Latin America segment offers video entertainment and audio programming services under the DIRECTV and SKY brands primarily to residential customers; pay-TV services, including HD sports video content; and postpaid and prepaid wireless services under the AT&T and Unefon brands, as well as sells various handsets through company-owned stores, agents, and third-party retail stores. The Xandr segment provides digital advertising services. The company was formerly known as SBC Communications Inc. and changed its name to AT&T Inc. in November 2005. AT&T Inc. was founded in 1983 and is based in Dallas, Texas.

Current Price: $38.38
Consensus Rating: Hold
Ratings Breakdown: 9 Buy Ratings, 8 Hold Ratings, 1 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $39.22 (2.2% Upside)

#2 - Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU)

Suncor Energy logo

Suncor Energy (NYSE: SU) - Another company that makes this list because of their ability to generate large amounts of cash is Suncor Energy. Despite being part of the energy sector which has been banged around over the last two years, Suncor has managed to keep their quarterly dividend virtually the same. They currently offer a very attractive dividend yield of around 4.4%. Another factor in the popularity of their stock is their recent focus on share buybacks. In 2017, they bought back $1.6 billion in shares and did the same in 2018. This has helped drive their stock performance and has made SU one of the more attractive oil stocks.  Benjamin Halliburton, chief investment officer at Tradition Capital Management had this to say about the future growth of Suncor which he calls a low-cost oil sands operation, “We believe SU can grow 7 to 9 percent compound annual growth rate indefinitely given its resource base.” Like AT&T, the stock itself has been a victim of volatility, and indeed SU does carry a beta of over 1. However, as a dividend stock, the high dividend yield should be more than enough to offset a stock that has been unable to sustain the lifts it has received from its buybacks.

About Suncor Energy
Suncor Energy Inc. operates as an integrated energy company. The company primarily focuses on developing petroleum resource basins in Canada's Athabasca oil sands; explores, acquires, develops, produces, and markets crude oil and natural gas in Canada and internationally; transports and refines crude oil; markets petroleum and petrochemical products primarily in Canada. It operates in Oil Sands; Exploration and Production; Refining and Marketing; and Corporate, Energy Trading and Eliminations segments. The Oil Sands segment recovers bitumen from mining and in situ operations, and upgrades it into refinery feedstock and diesel fuel, or blends the bitumen with diluent for direct sale to market. The Exploration and Production segment is involved in offshore operations off the east coast of Canada and in the North Sea; and operating onshore assets in Libya and Syria. The Refining and Marketing segment refines crude oil and intermediate feedstock into various petroleum and petrochemical products; and markets refined petroleum products to retail, commercial, and industrial customers through its dealers, sales channel, other retail stations, and wholesale customers. The Corporate, Energy Trading and Eliminations segment operates wind power facilities located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario; and engages in marketing, supply, and trading of crude oil, natural gas, power, and byproducts. The company was formerly known as Suncor Inc. and changed its name to Suncor Energy Inc. in April 1997. Suncor Energy Inc. was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Current Price: $33.61
Consensus Rating: Buy
Ratings Breakdown: 8 Buy Ratings, 2 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $46.04 (37.0% Upside)

#3 - General Mills (NYSE:GIS)

General Mills logo

General Mills (NYSE: GIS) - GIS is hoping that a new health-conscious brand portfolio will offer the company some “lucky charms”. While many investors flocked to the safety of some of the big name defensive stocks such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Proctor & Gamble, General Mills found itself with more investors selling than buying,  causing their stock to drop by 50% since 2016 despite the company still offering a strong 4.26 dividend yield. The largest factor to weigh on the company was a product line that was behind the organic, healthy consumer snack trend. This led to the company’s revenue declining which made investors question whether there was sufficient demand to justify the leverage on their balance sheet. But GIS has fought back with new products that, at least initially, seem to be gaining traction. They also recently completed their acquisition of Blue Buffalo. The pet food manufacturer is a growing brand name that has reportedly captured 10% of this high-growth market and is projecting strong first-half sales growth of near 20%. General Mills has delivered an uninterrupted dividend for over 117 years.

About General Mills
General Mills, Inc. manufactures and markets branded consumer foods worldwide. The company operates in five segments: North America Retail; Convenience Stores & Foodservice; Europe & Australia; Asia & Latin America; and Pet. It offers ready-to-eat cereals, refrigerated yogurt, soup, meal kits, refrigerated and frozen dough products, dessert and baking mixes, frozen pizza and pizza snacks, grain, fruit, and savory snacks, as well as organic products, including refrigerated yogurt, nutrition bars, meal kits, salty snacks, ready-to-eat cereal, and grain snacks. It also supplies branded and unbranded food products to the North American foodservice and commercial baking industries; and manufactures and markets pet food products, including dog and cat food. The company markets its products under the Annie's, Betty Crocker, Bisquick, Blue Buffalo, BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom, BLUE Wilderness, Bugles, Cascadian Farm, Cheerios, Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp, EPIC, Fiber One, Food Should Taste Good, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, Gardetto's, Go-Gurt, Gold Medal, Golden Grahams, Häagen-Dazs, Helpers, Jeno's, Jus-Rol, Kitano, Kix, La Salteña, Lärabar, Latina, Liberté, Lucky Charms, Muir Glen, Nature Valley, Oatmeal Crisp, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Progresso, Raisin Nut Bran, Total, Totino's, Trix, Wanchai Ferry, Wheaties, Yoki, and Yoplait trademarks. General Mills sells its products directly, as well as through broker and distribution arrangements to grocery stores, mass merchandisers, membership stores, natural food chains, e-commerce retailers, commercial and noncommercial foodservice distributors and operators, restaurants, convenience stores, and pet specialty stores, as well as drug, dollar, and discount chains. It operates 507 leased and 372 franchise branded ice cream parlors. The company was founded in 1866 and is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Current Price: $53.85
Consensus Rating: Hold
Ratings Breakdown: 6 Buy Ratings, 12 Hold Ratings, 1 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $55.35 (2.8% Upside)

#4 - Altria Group (NYSE:MO)

Altria Group logo

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) - One defensive stock that is not being overlooked is the Altria Group. This tobacco company is an income investors dream because of the strong margins that allow them to reward their shareholders through both dividends and stock buybacks. In fact, the company has an impressive 5.7 percent dividend yield. Altria, which owns Phillip Morris USA, has a footprint in virtually every aspect of the tobacco industry including various cigarette brands, smokeless tobacco, cigars, and e-cigarettes. But what may be getting investors more excited is Altria’s $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group which would give Altria a 45% ownership stake in the Canadian cannabis producers. The cannabis market represents a gigantic opportunity for a company like Altria that is looking for opportunities to broaden their revenue stream and be on the forefront of introducing new products to market. Cronos posted 186% revenue growth in 2018 and that growth is forecast to continue in 2019. Some investors will point out that Cronos has yet to turn a profit, but the cannabis field is about to get very crowded. Altria’s investment will certainly be a significant boost to Cronos as it seeks to take a leadership position.

About Altria Group
Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States. It offers cigarettes primarily under the Marlboro brand; cigars principally under the Black & Mild brand; and moist smokeless tobacco products under the Copenhagen, Skoal, Red Seal, and Husky brands. The company also produces and sells varietal and blended table wines, and sparkling wines under the Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, and 14 Hands names; and imports and markets Antinori, Torres, and Villa Maria Estate wines, as well as Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte in the United States. In addition, it provides finance leasing services primarily in transportation, aircraft, power generation, real estate, and manufacturing industries. The company sells its tobacco products primarily to wholesalers, including distributors; large retail organizations, such as chain stores; and the armed services. Altria Group, Inc. was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

Current Price: $51.02
Consensus Rating: Buy
Ratings Breakdown: 7 Buy Ratings, 4 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $54.86 (7.5% Upside)

#5 - AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)

AbbVie logo

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) - Abbvie is a good example of a stock that may face some challenges as a pure growth play, but remains an exceptional dividend stock. Investors can virtually bank on their 4.6% dividend yield as the company has a 45-year streak of increasing their dividend. The present and future direction of Abbvie’s stock centers around their popular, and best-selling, drug Humira. The drug, which is proven to treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis (among other conditions), saw its EU patent expire in 2018 and the U.S. patent for Humira will expire in 2023. However, while the company is noticing a drop-off in international sales, AbbVie has negotiated licensing agreements with competitors who will be introducing biosimilar drugs. But Humira is not expected to give much ground to its competitors. The market research company EvaluatePharma speculates that  Humira still has a long run – with projected sales of over $15 billion in 2024. The company is also projecting $35 billion in annual risk-adjusted sales from drugs other than Humira by 2025. That amounts to more than what the company made last year from Humira. 

About AbbVie
AbbVie Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures, and sells pharmaceutical products in the United States, Japan, Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and internationally. The company offers HUMIRA, a therapy administered as an injection for autoimmune and intestinal Behçet's diseases; IMBRUVICA to treat adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), mantle cell lymphoma, waldenström's macroglobulinemia, marginal zone lymphoma, and chronic graft versus host disease; VENCLEXTA, a BCL-2 inhibitor used to treat adults with CLL or SLL; VIEKIRA PAK, an interferon-free therapy to treat adults with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV); TECHNIVIE to treat adults with genotype 4 HCV infection; and MAVYRET to treat patients with chronic HCV genotype 1-6 infection. It also provides KALETRA, an anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 medicine used with other anti-HIV-1 medications to maintain viral suppression in HIV-1 patients; NORVIR, a protease inhibitor indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents to treat HIV-1; and SYNAGIS to prevent respiratory syncytial virus infection at-risk infants. In addition, the company offers AndroGel, a testosterone replacement therapy for males; CREON, a pancreatic enzyme therapy for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency; Synthroid to treat hypothyroidism; and Lupron to treat prostate cancer, endometriosis, and central precocious puberty, as well as anemia. Further, it provides Duopa and Duodopa, a levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel to treat Parkinson's disease; Sevoflurane, an anesthesia product; and ORILISSA, a non-peptide small molecule gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist for women with moderate to severe endometriosis pain. It has collaborations with Alector, Inc.; Janssen Biotech, Inc.; Galapagos; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; and Calico Life Sciences LLC. The company was incorporated in 2012 and is headquartered in North Chicago, Illinois.

Current Price: $88.00
Consensus Rating: Hold
Ratings Breakdown: 6 Buy Ratings, 6 Hold Ratings, 1 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $86.33 (-1.9% Upside)

#6 - Target (NYSE:TGT)

Target logo

Target (NYSE: TGT) - Can we all agree that, while Amazon has forever changed the retail landscape, the big-box retailers are finding their feet and starting to claw back into the market. For Target, that has meant an aggressive digital strategy that is competing with, and in some areas beating Amazon. This is an under-the-radar story largely because Target’s stock – that surged over 30% at one point in 2018 – came crashing back to earth, giving back virtually all of its gains. Still, sales continue to grow, particularly in their digital space. And with partners such as Restock and Shipt, Target is enjoying a 50% growth rate in digital sales. In 2019, Target plans to use Shipt to fulfill all of its major product categories. Better still, the orders will be fulfilled directly from stores, so the company will not have to take on the expense of building out distribution centers. As a dividend stock with a forward multiple of 12X earnings to go with a 3.6% dividend yield, Target doesn’t need to anything special, they just need to keep executing their plan well. If they do that, their stock should be rewarded.

About Target
Target Corporation operates as a general merchandise retailer in the United States. The company offers beauty and household essentials; food assortments, including perishables, dry grocery, dairy, and frozen items; and apparel, accessories, home décor products, electronics, toys, seasonal offerings, and other merchandise. The company also provides in-store amenities, such as Target Café, Target Optical, Starbucks, and other food service offerings. It sells its products through its stores; and digital channels, including Target.com. As of February 2, 2019, the company operated 1,844 stores. Target Corporation was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Current Price: $116.92
Consensus Rating: Buy
Ratings Breakdown: 16 Buy Ratings, 5 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $119.40 (2.1% Upside)

#7 - Best Buy (NYSE:BBY)

Best Buy logo

Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) - With a dividend yield of 3%, Best Buy is not necessarily the “belle of the ball” as it comes to dividend stocks, but it is being called a “titan of retail” with good reason. Despite facing tremendous pressure from Amazon, Best Buy has beaten the odds where competitors such as Circuit City and Radio Shack could not. Not only have they survived, but they are recognized as the premier physical electronics retailer. The formula for Best Buy centers around competitive pricing and store experience that delivers a personal touch that many electronics buyers prefer. Not only does the company still have 1,500 brick-and-mortar stores, it also has the seventh largest online retail e-commerce platform. This has helped the company more than double their EPS over the last four years even while revenue has remained flat. The anticipated growth of their online sales should provide compelling margins that propelled a 32 percent dividend increase in 2018 with further growth expected in 2019.

About Best Buy
Best Buy Co., Inc. operates as a retailer of technology products, services, and solutions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company operates in two segments, Domestic and International. Its stores provide Computing and Mobile Phones, such as computing and peripherals, e-readers, networking products, tablets, and wearables, as well as mobile phones comprising related mobile network carrier commissions; consumer electronics, including digital imaging, health and fitness, home theater, portable audio, and smart home products; and entertainment products consisting of drones, movies, music, and toys, as well as gaming hardware and software, and virtual reality and other software products. The company's stores also offer appliances, such as dishwashers, laundry appliances, ovens, refrigerators, blenders, coffee makers, and vacuums; and other products, such as beverages, snacks, and sundry items, as well as baby products, luggage, and sporting goods. In addition, it provides services comprising consultation, design, delivery, installation, memberships, protection plans, repair, set-up, and technical support services, as well as connected health services for aging consumers. The company offers its products through stores and Websites under the Best Buy, bestbuy.com, Best Buy Direct, Best Buy Express, Best Buy Mobile, Geek Squad, GreatCall, Magnolia, Pacific Kitchen and Home, bestbuy.ca, and bestbuy.com.mx brand names, as well as through mobile applications and call centers. As of February 2, 2019, it had approximately 1,187 large-format and 51 small-format stores. The company was formerly known as Sound of Music, Inc. Best Buy Co., Inc. was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota.

Current Price: $89.94
Consensus Rating: Buy
Ratings Breakdown: 10 Buy Ratings, 10 Hold Ratings, 0 Sell Ratings.
Consensus Price Target: $84.94 (-5.6% Upside)

In 2018, investors experienced the effects of volatility on their portfolios. In the last two weeks of the year alone, many stocks made double-digit, or even triple-digit moves in both directions – many times in a single day. In the best case scenario, many investors saw much of their 2018 gains washed away. Market volatility is unavoidable. However, it can be managed with a proper strategy. A part of that strategy should include investing in high-quality dividend stocks. A company that pays a dividend is known for their financial stability. And many of the high-quality stocks in this category offer dividend yields that exceed the return of a 10-year Treasury bill.

However, many of the stocks that pay dividends are stocks that, during good times, can be considered growth stocks. This focus on growth can frequently cause investors to overlook these stocks. But the reasons for owning a stock that pays a great dividend is exactly that … to claim that regular dividend, particularly when the broader market is subject to volatility. No matter which direction these stocks move, investors can take comfort in banking those regular dividend payments which they can either reinvest or use as a source of income in retirement.

However, a successful dividend investing strategy is only as reliable as the ability of the company to pay that dividend. The companies that we’ve listed in this report have more going for them than attractive dividend yield. These companies also have a proven history of issuing, and in many cases, increasing their dividend payment.

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