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3 Low Beta Dividend Stocks that Won't Disappoint You in 2016

The market’s had its ups and downs this year, but there is sure to be more volatility ahead of us in 2016.  There is a lot of speculation over the health of the global economy.  Will China keep falling behind growth expectations?  Will low oil prices impede global progress?  Speculation over these issues has led the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to revise their global growth expectations down, from 3.4% to 3.2%.

As long as the market has big questions with no concrete answers, there is sure to be more volatility ahead of us.  When the global environment is uncertain, it is wise to reduce your market exposure by picking up some low beta stocks.  Stocks with a low beta tend to see a lower magnitude of price changes compared to the broader market.

Combining low beta stocks with dividend yields north of 3% should help to hedge against any negative macroeconomic headwinds that affect your portfolio.  Below are three such stocks.  They have strong free cash flows, making them dependable dividend candidates as they make their way through what is sure to be a rocky 2016.

American Eagle Outfitters-AEO

American Eagle Outfitters is a retailer of all-American casual apparel, accessories, and footwear for young adults.  AEO stock looks like an attractive investmentto risk averse investors, as it has a beta of 0.80 and doles out a 3.14% dividend.  American Eagle is a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy).

American trades at a forward PE of just 12.94, while the industry’s average PE is 15.44.  Its stock also trades at a price-to-sales (P/S) of just 0.79.  A P/S under 1 suggests that a stock may be undervalued.  AEO’s earnings are projected to grow by 12.77% this year.  Its net margin is 6.19%, which is way ahead of the industry’s average net margin of 3.27%.

In the last 60 days, 6 analysts have revised their earnings estimates upwards for the current quarter.  This has helped to bring our EPS consensus upwards, going from $0.15 to $0.18 in the last two months.  American Eagle has a great earnings track record.  The company has beaten our EPS consensus estimate in each of the last four quarters.  AEO is expected to report its earnings in mid-May.

Darden Restaurants, Inc-DRI

Darden Restaurants is the world’s largest casual dining restaurant company based on market share, sales, and number of company-owned and operated restaurants.  DRI doesn’t see a whole lot of volatility for the most part, as it has a beta of just 0.49.  The company also doles out a nice 3.16% dividend yield.  Darden Restaurants are a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

As far as restaurants go, Darden is pretty cheap.  The stock trades at a forward PE of 18.08, compared to the industry’s PE of 22.12.  Sales are projected to grow by 2.72% this year, and earnings are expected to grow by 33.49%.  It’s worth noting that the company has a debt-to-capital of just 18.65%.

Over the last 3 months, our EPS consensus has trended higher for the current year.  Over the last 90 days, our earnings consensus estimate has gone from an EPS estimate of $3.32 to $3.50.  Like AEO, Darden has beaten our earnings consensus estimate in each of the last four quarters.  The company is expected to report its next quarterly earnings at the end of June.

World Point Terminals LP-WPT

World Point Terminals owns and operates terminals and other assets related to the storage of light refined products, heavy refined products, and crude oil.  This company has a beta of 0.26, and it gives shareholders a 7.89% dividend.  The stock looks like an especially strong candidate in terms of seeing less volatility, but having more cash coming back to you.  WPT is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

The company has an impressive 34.46% net margin, and sales are expected to grow by 4.93% this year.  WPT’s earnings are projected to grow by 10.53% this year.  World Point is priced pretty cheap as well, trading at a forward PE of just 14.49.  The company beat our earnings consensus estimate by 15% last quarter, and it is slated to report its earnings in mid-May.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
AMER EAGLE OUTF (AEO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DARDEN RESTRNT (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
WORLD POINT TER (WPT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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