Five Dividend Stocks Bucking the Market Trend
Over the last three months, the S&P 500 has fallen roughly six percent as risk appetite has dropped off considerably. This drop has likely been related to a sluggish global economy and significant fears over the European debt crisis. In this type of environment, cyclical sectors such as retail, technology, basic materials, and energy have been hit hard.
Investors could still make money, however, even with the stock market in a downtrend and market fear potentially rising. As large institutional market participants rotate out of riskier stocks and sectors, they have been moving money into conservative, dividend stocks.
Many established, large-cap, dividend paying companies have actually seen their stock prices rise in recent months as investors cut risk exposure and take on a more defensive posture. Below, Benzinga outlines 5 stocks which are up at least 10 percent over the last quarter and have dividend yields of greater than three percent.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) - This stock has been riding a strong uptrend in the utility sector. Given Duke's large market-cap, steady business, and high dividend yield, this is a name that investors have been accumulating as fear levels rise. Over the last three months, Duke has risen around 10 percent and the stock has approached new 52-week highs, giving the company a market cap of over $30 billion. At Thursday's share prices, the stock was yielding around 4.4 percent.
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) - This is another utility stock that is riding a strong uptrend. Over the last three months, Progress Energy shares are up better than thirteen percent, compared to a loss close to six percent for the S&P. On Thursday, PGN is trading just below $60.00 compared to a 52-week high of $60.94. The company has a market cap of nearly $18 billion and the stock was yielding close to 4.20 percent at Thursday's price levels.
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) - This well-known consumer staples company has seen its stock price rise more than 11 percent over the last three months as investors rotate into conservative names. Kimberly-Clark currently has a market cap of over $32 billion and is yielding approximately 3.60 percent. After the recent rally, KMB shares were trading at all-time highs above $82.00. On Thursday, the stock rose around 0.9 percent despite a broad market sell-off.
Altria (NYSE: MO) - Despite market fear about a slowing domestic and global economy and a potential catastrophe centered in Europe, cigarette-maker Altria has been steadily rising. Historically, Altria has been a tremendous performer, and the stock continues to make new all-time highs. Over the last three months, MO has added a little more than 11 percent. Despite the stock price's near-perpetual rise, MO still yielded a very healthy 4.90 percent at Thursday's levels.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) - In times of market volatility, telecom stocks are highly desired by investors for their steady businesses and large dividend yields. Over the last three months, Verizon shares have risen almost 14 percent. Competitor AT&T (NYSE: T) is up more than 12 percent during the same time. At Thursday's levels, VZ was yielding close to 4.60 percent. Like most of the stocks on this list, Verizon is trading just below a new 52-week high. If market participants continue to cut back on risk, stocks such as Verizon and AT&T might continue to outpace the S&P 500.
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