Despite strong rally, dividend yields still attractive
Even with the sharp gains in stock prices this year, 70 percent of the Dow components still offer dividend yields greater than 2 percent.
Thirteen of the 30 companies in the Dow have dividend yields greater than the 10-year U.S. Treasury, which was yielding around 2.7 percent Tuesday. The current average dividend yield of the Dow stands at 2.52 percent as companies kept pace with stock prices by raising dividends, but the average is down about 40 basis points from the beginning of the year.
Since then, the Dow is higher by about 3,000 points, which has pushed yields lower.
"Investors need to be cautious and look at valuations along with dividend yields," says Art Hogan, Chief Market Analyst at Lazard Capital Markets. "I expect the market to continue its run, and potentially rise another 12 percent next year, but I am still focused on fundamentals."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 23 percent year-to-date, on pace for its largest gain in a decade. The Dow, closed at a record 16,072.54 Monday, scoring its 42nd record close this year.
Hogan also favors stocks over bonds, and highlights that with corporate cash on balance sheets at record levels, the trend in capital distribution in the form of dividends and stock buybacks should continue. Companies, using record low bond yields to issue debt, have been using the proceeds to issue dividends and buy back stock.
Twenty-four Dow members, or 80 percent of the index, increased their dividend payments so far this year, according to figures by S&P Capital IQ. Some of those names include: Verizon, 3M, American Express, Caterpillar, Chevron, Cisco, among others.
But as Hogan highlights, investors shouldn't worry about just chasing yield and should first make sure the underlying fundamentals justify the price.
Highest dividend yields of the Dow
|Ticker||Company||Price||YTD % Chg.||Div. Yield|
|PG||Procter & Gamble||85.41||25.81||2.82|
|JNJ||Johnson & Johnson||95.63||36.42||2.76|
—BY CNBC's Giovanny Moreano. Follow him on Twitter: