Revenge of the Boring Stocks! Dividends Are Sexy Again.


Dividend stocks - Revenge of the Boring Stocks! Dividends Are Sexy Again.

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It’s a new year and apparently there’s a new theme on Wall Street for investors. Many of the Magnificent Seven stocks and their high-flying tech peers are off to a difficult start in 2024. But stodgy, dividend-paying consumer staples, telecom, and healthcare stocks are surging.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) was in the green on Tuesday and Wednesday while the broader market fell both days. Coke, a Dow Jones stock, is already up 2% after tumbling about 5% in 2023, missing the big market rally. The soft drink giant, which pays a dividend that yields more than 3%, is a long-time favorite holding of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B).

Boring Buffett Stocks Are Leading the Way in 2024

And guess what? The Oracle of Omaha’s conglomerate, another safe, dependable — and as some might argue, boring — stock, is also enjoying gains so far in 2024, rising 3% already in the new year. Berkshire, worth just under $800 billion, is not far from an all-time high either.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ), another market laggard in 2023, is also an overachiever so far in 2024. The telecom giant, which pays a dividend that yields a whopping 6.8%, is up 4.5% already this year, thanks in large part to an upgrade from an analyst at Keybanc Capital Markets. Several other of the so-called Dogs of the Dow from 2023 are also in the green so far this year, including Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

Verizon’s top rival, AT&T (NYSE:T), is having a healthy beginning to the new year too. Ma Bell’s shares are up about 3%. And like Verizon, AT&T is a dependable dividend play, with a yield above 6%.

And investors aren’t turning out the lights on electric company stocks either. The Dow Jones Utility Average, home to many high-yielding power companies, is up more than 1% already in 2024. So is the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLU), the ETF that holds top utilities such as NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK). These three utilities all pay dividends yielding north of 3%.

The Bottom Line on Dividend Stocks

Two top dividend ETFs have rallied so far in 2024 as well. Both the Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (NYSEARCA:SCHD) and Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund (NYSEARCA:VYM) are up a bit while the rest of the market has tumbled. These two ETFs each own a mix of top income-producing companies, including Coke rival Pepsi (NASDAQ:PEP) and drug giant Merck (NYSE:MRK).

So, it appears that investors may be buckling down and looking for safety in the first few days of 2024 after the heady run for big tech and growth stocks last year. That trend could continue if investors remain nervous about valuations for the Magnificent Seven and other high-flyers.

As of this writing, Paul R. La Monica did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Paul R. La Monica is a veteran financial journalist with nearly 30 years experience (including more than 20 at CNN) covering the stock market and other asset classes, the economy and other corporate and business news.

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