Goldman Sachs told clients to buy dividend growth names as the performance of the general market may wane due to lower stock buybacks.
The firm's chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin expects the S&P 500 to trade at 2,150 in 12 months, representing 1 percent downside from Friday's close.
"Buybacks have decelerated since the start of 2Q given reduced authorizations and high stock valuations. We expect further near-term deceleration," Kostin wrote in the note to clients. "A slower pace of buybacks is a headwind for higher share prices given that corporate repurchases are the largest source of US equity demand."
Kostin cited how buyback programs fell 18 percent year over year during the second quarter after a record high in the previous quarter. He cited weakening balance sheets and the prospect of rising interest rates as reasons why corporations may do even fewer share buybacks going forward. As a result, Goldman's buyback basket is lagging the market's performance by 2 percentage points this year.
Instead, the strategist recommends dividend growth stocks that can generate income in a flat market.
"Managers should focus on firms returning cash to shareholders via dividends. We recommend our Dividend Growth basket (GSTHDIVG), which offers yield, growth, and value and trades at a 12% discount to S&P 500 (15x vs. 17x)," the report said.
Here is a selection of seven stocks in Goldman's recommended dividend growth basket.