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Sectors, Stocks and ETFs That Pay Sizable Dividends In A Trade War Environment

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Recently the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to its lowest level since October 2017, with the recent rising trade tensions and global uncertain surrounding markets. As a result, six S&P 500 sectors now offer comparable or higher yields than the federally issued bond’s 2.32% return, namely, the financials, with a 2.22% yield; the materials, with a 2.30% yield; the consumer staples, with a 2.91% yield; real estate investment trusts, with a 3.25% yield; utilities, with a 3.29% yield, and energy, at 3.78%.

Rather than succumbing to the urge to jump in and blindly buy the sectors, some financial experts recommending exercising restraint and using some due diligence.

“Typically, if a company wants to pay a dividend, you need to have a solid balance sheet and strong cash flow, and those are the kinds of companies that do well when times get tough,” Mark Tepper, president and CEO of wealth management firm Strategic Wealth Partners, said Thursday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

“So, of all the sectors, we like financials, but I still think you need to pick the winners, not the sector,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of investors rotate into financials right now for value reasons and also for yield, but within financials, I think the key really is to identify the best companies.”

Tepper scrutinizes companies to find specimens with healthy free cash flow, growth potential and dividend yield. Using those criteria, two equities in particular, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley look especially appealing for dividend growth.

“Look at the opportunity in a top-notch bank right now like J.P. Morgan. I mean, you’re looking at a 2.9% yield, it’s cheap, it’s trading at, like, 10 times forward earnings, and you’re getting the best management team in the business, ” Tepper said.

“Another one we like is Morgan Stanley, ” he said. “It’s about a 2.8% dividend. They’ve got incredible revenue diversification. They’ve got their wealth management business, which is all recurring revenues. They’ve got their investment banking fees, which are high-margin revenues, and that’s dirt-cheap, trading at a [price-to-earnings multiple] of eight.”

Mark Newton, president and founder of investment consulting firm Newton Advisors, took more of a top-level approach to these high-yield opportunities.

“I like consumer staples here,” he told CNBC in the same interview. “We’ve seen some out-performance in the defensive [plays]over the last couple weeks, and I think that continues at least into end-of-month.”

Newton said the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP), looked especially rosy on a technical basis, having ascended to near its previous highs.

“When you take a look at relative charts, we’ve really started to accelerate higher when you look at XLP versus the S&P in recent weeks. So, that’s also one to favor near term,” he said. “I do think, though, that the overall sell-off in the market does prove short-lived, and one [where]you might want to consider things like health care.”

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