There’s no easy way to put this.
While stocks are pushing higher, there are still plenty of catalysts that could send the markets into a tailspin. For example, COVID variants are still making the rounds. We have sky-high inflation, and a hawkish Federal Reserve. Mid-term elections are nearing.
There’s even potential conflict with Russia and Ukraine.
In addition, when the Fed starts to wind down its QE program, and starts hiking interest rates, markets could pull back. On top of that, Morgan Stanley’s chief market strategist, Mike Wilson says the market could feel even more pressure from slowing economic and corporate growth.
Plus, there’s no shortage of panicky investors ready to rush for the exit doors.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is you can protect your portfolio from potential downside with strong dividend stocks. In fact, they tend to hold up very well when markets take a dive. Plus, you can collect income along the way.
Dividend Stock No. 1 – NextEra Energy (NEE)
Some of the safest stocks to own during a downturn are utility stocks, like NEE. That’s because even in the worst of times, we still need utility services, like electricity.
Even better, with a dividend yield of 2.03%, analysts and insiders seem to like the stock. BMO Capital analysts for example raised their price target on NEE to $98 from $89 with an outperform rating on the stock.
CEO James Robo recently bought 64,691 shares of NEE at an average price of $77.26 for just under $5 million. CFO Rebecca Kujawa bought 7,000 shares at $71.83 for $502,810. And Director Naren Gursahaney bought 2,000 shares at $73.62 for $147,240.
Dividend Stock No. 2 – Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA)
Walgreens Boots. Alliance carries a dividend yield of 3.85%.
In January, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 47.75 cents per share, unchanged from the previous quarter and an increase of 2.1 percent from the year-ago quarter. The dividend is payable March 11, 2022, to stockholders of record as of Feb. 18, 2022.
Even better, earnings and guidance are solid. According to a company press release:
“First quarter earnings per share from continuing operations was $4.13, compared with a loss of $0.45 in the year-ago quarter; continuing operations adjusted EPS increased to $1.68, up 53.1 percent on a constant currency basis. First quarter sales from continuing operations increased 7.8 percent to $33.9 billion, up 7.6 percent on a constant currency basis. First quarter operating income from continuing operations increased to $1.3 billion, compared with a loss of $535 million in the year-ago quarter; adjusted operating income from continuing operations increased to $1.8 billion, up 48.5 percent on a constant currency basis.”
As for fiscal 2022, the company increased its full year adjusted EPS guidance to low-single digit growth, from flat previously.
Dividend Stock No. 3 — WP Carey (WPC)
With WP Carey, nearly all of its rental agreements include contractual rent increases for inflation, according to BNK Invest. In fact, about 60% are tied to the consumer price index.
Well diversified with industrial, warehouse, office, retail, and self-storage, the REIT also pays a yield of 5.32%. Even better, WP Carey is a REIT with 23 consecutive years of annual dividend increases. Most recently, the company increased its quarterly dividend to $1.055 per share, payable January 14, 2022 to shareholders of record as of December 31, 2021.
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