Top Stories
Top Stories
Markets

Here are the new 'Dogs of the Dow,' a simple investing strategy that beat the market last year

Key Points
  • The "Dogs of the Dow" beat the market in 2018, down only 1.5 percent.
  • The dogs would have done much better in 2018 without General Electric's 57 percent decline.
  • International Business Machines, Exxon Mobil and Verizon Communications are among the new dogs for 2019.
  • The strategy calls for the purchase of the 10 Dow members with the highest dividend yields.
Franz Pritz | Getty Images

The "Dogs of the Dow" beat the market in 2018. Now meet the new dogs.

One of Wall Street's classic investing strategies, perhaps the most hands-off one, kept investors relatively safe last year — if one had bought the 10 highest-yielding stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the beginning of 2018 and held them all year long, it would have only lost 1.5 percent, versus the Dow's nearly 6 percent annual loss and the 's 6.2 percent.

It's a classic value investing strategy that could be primed to work even better this year if the market remains shaky in the face of a slowing global economy and trade battles. Investors may look to names like these for more steady dividend income. International Business Machines, Exxon Mobil and Verizon Communications are among the new dogs for 2019.

While beating the market in 2018, the dogs would have done much better in 2018 without General Electric's 57 percent decline, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The conglomerate is the only stock that got replaced in the new year because the company cut its dividend to 0.55 percent from 2.75 percent. J.P. Morgan Chase has made the list of new dogs. GE is also no longer in the Dow. 

Source: Bespoke Investment Group

"The 20 non-Dogs are down 5 percent, so the Dogs are winning handily at this point in what has been a down year," said a team of analysts at Bespoke in a note Monday.

Merck was the best performer among 2018's dogs, posting a whopping 35 percent return. A key driver for Merck's outperformance was the strong ramp-up in sales of Keytruda, a drug used to treat various forms of cancer. Merck sports a dividend yield of 2.9 percent.