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6 Dividend Yielding Defensive Picks to Survive Tech Turmoil

Swarup Gupta
Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does Ameren (AEE) have what it takes? Let's find out.

Once again, a selloff in tech stocks acted as a trigger for broader market losses on Tuesday. Sector heavyweights suffered reverses due to disparate concerns. But financials also declined after Treasury yields plummeted leading to broad losses for the bourses. And it is widely believed that the rout in tech stocks, which is likely to continue, was responsible for this turn of events as well.

Predictably, defensive stocks have caught investors’ fancy in the interim. These stocks can help shore up hard-earned profits during difficult market conditions. Further, they offer appreciably higher dividend yields. Adding stocks from the utilities, telecom and real estate domains to your portfolios looks like a prudent option at this point.

Tech’s Decline Leads to Market Rout

On Tuesday, shares of Apple Inc. AAPL and Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN declined 2.6% and 3.8%, respectively, leading to a 2.9% decline for the Nasdaq which suffered its sharpest one-day reverse since early February. Further, the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) lost 3.2% even as Microsoft emerged as the worst performer for the Dow, losing a whopping 4.6%.

The initial trigger for last week’s tech losses, a reversal in Facebook Inc.’s FB fortunes, remained very much in evidence. Shares of the social media giant lost 4.9% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the investment banking wing of Bank of America BAC, lowered its price target for the stock for the second occasion in five days.

Even as Facebook continued to suffer from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a variety of self-driving related concerns felled NVIDIA Corporation NVDA and Tesla, Inc. TSLA.

Shares of NVIDIA lost 7.8% after the chipmaker put on hold all of its self-driving tests, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Tesla’s shares declined 8.2% after the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into a crash that occurred last week.

Defensive Plays Back in Favor?

For the S&P 500, the only gainers for the day were the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) and the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE), which increased 1.4% and 0.2%, respectively. The SPDR S&P Telecom ETF (XTL) ended the day virtually unchanged, even though telecom stocks had gained 1.3% at one point.

The reason for the renewed popularity of these defensive options is clear. Such stocks offer a moat against the kind of uncertainty prevailing in the markets at the moment. Not only can they shore up hard-won gains, they offer dividend yields which are appreciably higher than the market average.

To put things in perspective, the utility, telecom, and real estate sectors offer average yields of 3.5%, 5.6% and 3.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, the average yield for the S&P 500 stands at just 1.8%.

Our Choices

A tech stock rout is threatening to thwart markets’ nascent recovery from February’s correction. A variety of factors are threatening to snap tech stocks’ spectacular run of gains. This, in turn, is likely to create significant market turmoil in the near term.

Given this backdrop, investors would do well to invest in defensive stocks. Such stocks provide steady dividends irrespective of prevailing market conditions. Typically, utilities, real estate and telecom, whose demand remains undiminished even during tough times, are considered to be defensive stocks. We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks based on a good Zacks Rank and other relevant metrics.

South Jersey Industries, Inc. SJI is a provider of products and services related to energy. It purchases, transmits and sells natural gas.

South Jersey Industries has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has expected earnings growth of 25.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 6.9% over the last 60 days. South Jersey Industries has a dividend yield of 4.1%.

New Jersey Resources Corporation NJR is an energy services holding company that, through its subsidiaries, provides safe and reliable natural gas and clean energy services, including transportation, distribution, asset management and home services.

New Jersey Resources has a Zacks Rank #1. The company has expected earnings growth of 50.4% for the current year The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by more than 0.1% over the last 30 days. The stock has a dividend yield of 1.6%. New Jersey Resources has a dividend yield of 2.8%.

PotlatchDeltic Corporation PCH is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) which owns timberland in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Mississippi.

PotlatchDeltic has expected earnings growth of 26.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.4% over the last 30 days. The stock has a dividend yield of 3.1%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. MDC engages in homebuilding and financial service businesses in the United States.

M.D.C. Holdings has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company has expected earnings growth of 15.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 13.3% over the last 60 days. The stock has a dividend yield of 4.3%.

BT Group plc BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. BT Group is based in London, United Kingdom.

BT Group has a Zacks Rank #2. The company has expected earnings growth of 2.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.3% over the last 60 days. The stock has a dividend yield of 6.3%.

Telefónica, S.A. TEF provides fixed-line telephone services, wireless communications, Internet access, video and data transmission services, to approximately 313 million customers. Telefónica is based in Madrid, Spain.

Telefónica has a Zacks Rank #2. The company has expected earnings growth of 17.3% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.8% over the last 30 days. The stock has a dividend yield of 3.6%.

The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All                

Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>              


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South Jersey Industries, Inc. (SJI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NewJersey Resources Corporation (NJR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Bank of America Corporation (BAC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Facebook, Inc. (FB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Telefonica SA (TEF) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BT Group PLC (BT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Potlatch Corporation (PCH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. (MDC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Apple Inc. (AAPL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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