The year 2022 has been marked by huge volatility and uncertainty, which have raised the appeal of dividend investing. Though this does not offer dramatic price appreciation, the strategy is a major source of consistent income for investors in any market.
This is especially true as dividend-focused products offer safety in the form of payouts and stability through mature companies that are less volatile to the large swings in stock prices. The dividend-paying securities are major sources of consistent income for investors when returns from equity markets are at risk. Further, these products are proven outperformers over the long term. While there are plenty of options in the dividend ETF world, zeroing in on the dividend aristocrats could be a wise move in the current market environment, which has been ruffled by higher inflation, aggressive Fed rate hikes and geopolitical issues (read: Invest in Quality ETFs to Fight Volatility). Why Dividend Aristocrats?
Dividend aristocrats are blue-chip dividend-paying companies with a long history of increasing dividend payments year over year. These generally act as a hedge against economic uncertainty and provide downside protection by offering outsized payouts or sizable yields on a regular basis. Additionally, aristocrats tend to skew the portfolio to less-volatile sectors and mature companies.
Additionally, these stocks have superior fundamentals that make dividend growth a quality and promising investment for the long term. These include a sustainable business model, a long track of profitability, rising cash flows, good liquidity, a strong balance sheet and some value characteristics. Further, a history of strong dividend growth indicates a likely hike in the future. Investors should note that the dividend aristocrat funds offer more dividend growth opportunities compared to the other products in the space but might not necessarily have the highest yields. Further, these products lead to a healthy portfolio with a greater scope of capital appreciation as opposed to the simple dividend-paying stocks or those with high yields. As a result, these products provide a nice combination of annual dividend growth and capital appreciation opportunity, and are mainly suitable for risk-averse, long-term investors. For them, we have highlighted some popular ETFs that could be excellent choices: Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF ( VIG Quick Quote VIG - Free Report) Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF is the largest and the most popular ETF in the dividend space, with AUM of $61.8 billion and an average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The fund follows the S&P U.S. Dividend Growers Index, which is composed of large-cap stocks that have a record of raising dividends every year. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF holds 289 securities in the basket, with none accounting for more than 4.2% share. The fund charges 6 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook. SPDR S&P Dividend ETF ( SDY Quick Quote SDY - Free Report) With AUM of $22.1 billion, SPDR S&P Dividend ETF provides well-diversified exposure to 119 U.S. stocks that have consistently increased their dividend for at least 20 consecutive years. This can be done by tracking the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index. Each firm accounts for no more than 1.7% of the assets. SPDR S&P Dividend ETF charges 35 bps in fees and trades in an average daily of 515,000 shares. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a Medium risk outlook (read: Fearing a September Lull? Buy These 5 ETFs). iShares Select Dividend ETF ( DVY Quick Quote DVY - Free Report) iShares Select Dividend ETF provides exposure to the companies with a consistent five-year history of dividend payments. It follows the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index and holds 99 securities in its basket with each accounting for less than 2.2% of the assets. iShares Select Dividend ETF has AUM of $22.5 billion and charges 38 bps in fees per year from investors. It trades in average daily volume of 652,000 shares and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook. Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF ( SCHD Quick Quote SCHD - Free Report) With AUM of $37.2 billion, Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF offers exposure to 105 high-dividend yielding U.S. companies that have a record of consistent dividend payments supported by fundamental strength based on financial ratios and ample liquidity. This can be easily done by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Dividend 100 Index. Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF charges 6 bps in annual fees and trades in an average daily volume of 3 million shares. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook (read: 5 Most-Loved Dividend ETFs of This Year). iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF ( DGRO Quick Quote DGRO - Free Report) iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF provides exposure to companies having a history of consistently growing dividends by tracking the Morningstar US Dividend Growth Index. It holds 414 stocks in its basket, with each accounting for less than 3.1% share. iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF has accumulated $24 billion in its asset base and charges 8 bps in fees per year. It trades in an average daily volume of 1.5 million shares and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook. ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF ( NOBL Quick Quote NOBL - Free Report) ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF provides exposure exclusively to the high-quality companies that have not just paid dividends but have raised them in at least 25 consecutive years, with most doing so for 40 years or more. It follows the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index and holds 64 securities in its basket, with each accounting for less than 2.2% share. ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF has amassed $10.1 billion in its asset base and trades in an average daily volume of 392,000 shares. It has an expense ratio of 0.35% and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook. WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund ( DGRW Quick Quote DGRW - Free Report) WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund tracks the WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Index and offers diversified exposure to U.S. dividend-paying stocks with both growth and quality characteristics like long-term earnings growth expectations and three-year historical averages for return on equity and return on assets. It has gathered $6.8 billion in its asset base and charges 28 bps in fees per year from its investors. WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund holds 297 securities in its basket, with each accounting for no more than 5.2% share. It trades in volume of 538,000 per share on average and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook.