3 Dividend Stocks for Any Market

We are already into September and yet stocks can’t decide whether 2010 is a bear or a bull market. Since the beginning of the year the S&P 500 is down less than 1 percent, while the Dow Jones index is almost exactly where it was at the end of 2009.


The overall flat performance belies the market volatility that continues to frustrate investors. At the end of April, the S&P 500 was up 6 percent for the year and it looked like the rally of 2009 was going to continue this year. However, since then the market has lost 6 percent and has given little indication as to which direction it will take for the remainder of the year.


Given the heightened uncertainty in the stock market, dividend investors need to concentrate on safe stocks that perform well in any market. Here are 3 dividend aristocrat stocks that have proven capable of posting strong performances in any market.



McDonald’s [[MCD]] was the top dividend aristocrat performer last month with a 4.8 per cent gain despite the S&P 500 falling 4.7 percent. MCD shares have gained over 20 percent in 2010 as their new drink menu has fueled strong sales. McDonald’s has also proven that it is a safe stock to hold during a bear market as well. MCD shares posted nearly a 6 percent gain in 2008 when the Dow plunged 34 percent. In fact, McDonald’s is the only Dow stock to have posted share gains in each of the past 5 years. Of course they also offer a 2.9 percent dividend yield and have increased their dividend each year since 1976.


Family Dollar Stores

It made sense that Family Dollar Stores [[FDO]] would thrive during the Great Recession as consumers traded down to cheaper options. However, FDO shares are up an amazing 54 percent this year. That follows on the stocks 35 percent gain in 2008 and 7 percent jump last year. The retailer is continuing to attract consumers to their stores and earnings are expected to jump 25 percent this year. While the dividend aristocrat only offers a 1.5 percent yield, the company has increased their dividend payout for 34 consecutive years.



Investing in Sherwin-Williams [[SHW]] seems about as exciting as watching paint dry, but dividend aristocrat continues to post strong performances. Since the beginning of the year, SHW shares are up 17 percent. That’s an exceptional performance from a stock that generally returns about 3 percent each year. Combined with their 2 percent dividend yield, that results in a decent annual return….especially in this uncertain environment.

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