Investors worried about the potential for a recession that would roil markets may want to look at stocks that pay dividends to keep income flowing. Some companies have a history of consistently raising dividends every year, even late in market cycles and through previous recessions, according to a Monday note from Wolfe Research. “Companies that have consistently increased their dividends for at least 25 years is our favorite dividend investment strategy currently in a late cycle/recessionary environment,” wrote analyst Chris Senyek. “Such stocks carry the highest dividend yield among our favorite strategies (2.3%) and are trading at a discount to their 10-year average.” The firm calls these stocks “dividend aristocrats” and notes that this group has generally outperformed other cohorts both heading into and out of the three recessions seen in the last 25 years. The S & P 500 fell into a bear market in June and has since struggled to record any meaningful rebounds, making it a good time to pick a defensive strategy such as the one outlined by Wolfe Research. On Monday, stocks declined as investors braced for a key earnings season that may show companies struggling with headwinds such as inflation, economic uncertainty and foreign exchange pressure . Many of the dividend aristocrats are also well-positioned to buy. The price-to-earnings valuations of stocks on the list are in line with the S & P 500 and cheap relative to the last decade, according to the note. Sector also matters in picking stocks for dividend yields, according to the note. Of sectors in the S & P 500, energy, utilities and staples tend to have the highest dividend yields. Discretionary, tech and communication services generally have the lowest. The list includes energy names such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron , which boast 3.9% and 3.8% dividend yields, respectively. Tobacco company Altria Group has the highest dividend yield on the list at 8.2% and is joined by other consumer stocks such as Walgreens , Kimberly-Clark and Clorox . AbbVie and Cardinal represent the health-care industry on the list.
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