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In chaotic and difficult market environments, Jim Cramer recommends investors seek the protection of stocks with serious dividends. After all, dividend-paying stocks pay investors to wait until the market calms and the economy improves.
The "Mad Money" host especially likes “accidental high-yielders” — the stocks with small payouts that wouldn’t ordinarily offer high yields. Because of downward pressure in the markets, which has hurt their share prices, those yields have shot up. So now investors get more bang for their bucks.
The added benefit of owning these kinds of stocks is that the newly high yields attract new buyers, and that puts a floor in the share price. Not only do investors get to collect the payout on the way down, but they can also ride the stock higher on the way back up.
We pulled together a list of Cramer's favorite dividend plays. Read on and pick one or two for your portfolio. They could offer just the kind of defense that you need.
When this slideshow was published, Cramer's charitable trust owned DuPont and Eaton.
Posted 13 Oct 2011
Check out DuPont’s 4 percent dividend yield, Cramer said. The diversified chemicals company is not as levered to housing as people realize, he continued.
It also has an agriculture segment and while some think farming is a bad place to be, Cramer said the world's population only continues to grow. All of those people need to eat, he noted, and DuPont's fertilizers help farmers get more crops out of the same amount of land.
Eaton is one of the best accidental high-yielding stocks today, Cramer said. The Cleveland-based company makes an array of electrical components and systems, including those for the auto and aerospace industries. Despite weakness in the global economy, Eaton remains a top brand in each of its markets thanks to superior technology. Cramer thinks that going forward its end markets will continue to gain strength. Its strong balance sheet is also a plus.
This stock is cheap on both a yield and earnings basis, Cramer said. It boasts a 3.2 percent dividend yield. As an accidental high-yielder, its yield will rise as the stock price falls. So those interested in playing this stock should buy in wide scales on the way down based on the yield. If an investor wants to buy 100 shares, for example, he or she should buy no more than 20 shares at current levels. The next purchase should be at the $34.50 level, where it yields 4 percent. Should the stock fall to $32 a share and yield 4.25 percent, Cramer recommends investors "back up the truck."
Click here for more from Cramer on Eaton.
Not only is the utilities sector one of Cramer's favorite places to hide in a tough market, he thinks FirstEnergy could be the “biggest utility winner from the EPA’s new emissions regulations.” The company gets 90 percent of its output from either nuclear or scrubbed coal that’s already cleaner than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires. Meanwhile, it's also benefiting from its acquisition of Allegheny in February of last year.
FirstEnergy currently boasts a 5 percent dividend yield and Cramer thinks it's worth a look.
Click here for more from Cramer on FirstEnergy.
General Mills is "as recession resistant as it gets," Cramer said. Its 3.1 percent dividend yield is not as high as other stocks he's drawn attention to lately, but Cramer said the company is a lot more consistent than just about anything out there. In fact, it was one of few companies that recently said things could actually get better.
Click here for more from Cramer on General Mills.
International Paper, a paper and packaging company headquartered in Memphis, is a classic cyclical business that has refused to be dragged down by a weak economy. Instead, it has taken control of its own destiny through good management and smart acquisitions.
Cramer thinks IP is worth buying at current levels. It sports a 4 percent dividend yield, so investors are paid to hold onto it. Its yield goes up as the stock price goes down, he explained. So for those who buy IP, the worst thing that could happen is the stock falls and the investor could buy more shares with a higher yield. He recommends buying IP now and using the dividends to buy more shares.
Click here for more from Cramer on International Paper.
This semiconductor company makes the microcontrollers, or chips, that go into simple electronic devices, among other products. Cramer likes Chandler, Ariz.-based Microchip Technology because it has an attractive risk-reward and pays a high dividend yield. At 4 percent, its dividend yield is the highest in all the semiconductor space.
In addition, Cramer said it's likely to benefit from positive long-term trends. Demand in the wireless space is growing and that could benefit Microchip Technology.
Cramer recommends investors do their homework on this stock and consider starting a position.
Click here for more from Cramer on Microchip Technology.
Nucor is a best-of-breed steel maker, Cramer said. With a juicy 4 percent dividend yield, he called it a classic cyclical stock that pays investors for the economy to improve. Its dividend is safe, too, because it's well covered by earnings. The company also has a strong balance sheet with $2.2 billion of assets in cash and a manageable 17 percent debt-to-capital ratio.
To play it, Cramer would buy some shares now. As the share price falls and the yield rises, he would buy more.
Click here for more from Cramer on Nucor.
Cramer likes stocks with safe, juicy dividend yields, but loves companies with a history of boosting their dividends. Waste Management has increased its dividend by 81 percent over the last seven years. Going forward, Cramer thinks it has room to keep increasing the payout. The stock currently yields 4.1 percent.
In addition to paying a dividend, the company owns the nation’s largest network of landfills, which are scarce and time-consuming to build.
To play it, Cramer suggests buying a small position in Waste Management now and then buying in wide scales on the way down.
Click here for more from Cramer on Waste Management.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, American Electric Power engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power. Not only is it one of the top generators, Cramer said it boasts the largest transmission system. He likes its juicy 4.8 percent dividend yield and said it's likely safe for now.
Click here for more from Cramer on American Electric Power.
Cramer likes Clorox because it makes everything from cleaning products, such as Pine-Sol to cat litter under the Fresh Step brand, as well as Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing and Kingsford’s charcoal, among many other products. People don't stop buying these items because of the economic slowdown, Cramer said. The company does have to deal with rising commodity costs and it's also facing competition from generic brands, but he thinks these issues are already baked into the stock.
Clorox is selling for 16 times earnings, with a 10 percent growth rate. It also pays a 3.6 percent dividend yield. Cramer recommends investors start building a position now and buy more on the way down.
Click here for more from Cramer on Clorox.
ConocoPhillips is the ultimate paid-to-wait name, Cramer said. The Houston-based oil company is embarking on a massive restructuring that will ultimately lighten its debt load, provide greater exposure to finding and producing oil, instead of simply refining it, and also increase its dividend. To execute this plan, ConocoPhillips is selling billions of dollars worth of assets and buying back $21 billion worth of stock. It also plans to split the company in two parts, which Cramer thinks will unlock value for shareholders.
"Conoco's paying you to wait, not just for the economy to rebound, but for its turnaround to bear real fruit," he said. "And as the company executes on its plans, it will be able to pay you even more by boosting the dividend."
Click here for more from Cramer on ConocoPhillips.