Dividend stocks may be the way to go for investors as a recession becomes more likely, according to UBS. Dividend stocks on average outperformed the market by 4.5% during the 2001, 2008 and 2020 recessions, the bank said. U.S. equity product manager Joseph Parkhill noted that these stocks can provide a cushion for investor portfolios amid the current uncertainty as inflation remains stubbornly high. Investing strategies focusing on dividend growth “have been significantly less volatile” than others focusing on earnings and buyback growth, Parkhill wrote in a Monday note. “Dividend stocks can provide a margin of safety during uncertain times.” The market has seen wild swings lately, as expectations for a recession increase, with the Federal Reserve raising rates for roughly a year to quell inflation pressures. Given this backdrop, UBS highlighted a slew of dividend stocks with big upsides, based on the bank’s price targets. The stocks have current dividend yields higher than the S & P 500 average of 1.7%. Analysts also forecast three-year dividend growth that’s at least in the mid-single digits, in addition to sustainable payout ratios. Here are the 10 that are expected to see the largest gains in coming months: Renewable energy-focused investment company Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure had the highest estimated upside on the list, at 92.3%. Two-thirds of analysts covering the stock rate it a buy or overweight, according to FactSet. To be sure, shares have tumbled more than 43% during the past 12 months. Despite the recent investor concerns surrounding the banking sector, several regional banks including Huntington Bancshares and Fifth Third Bancorp made the list. Huntington Bancshares’ stock has fallen 20.5% in 2023. Nonetheless, UBS forecasts shares rallying 57.7%. UBS analyst Erika Najarian wrote earlier in the month that Huntington Bancshares has been especially hard-hit relative to its fundamentals, presenting a compelling entry point for investors. UBS is also bullish on Fifth Third Bancorp shares. The bank’s price target implies upside of 56.9%. Amid the dip in regional bank stocks, UBS said Fifth Third’s “transition to a high quality regional appears to be fully priced out of the stock at current levels.” Other analysts are also bullish on the stock, with FactSet data showing more than six in 10 rating it a buy or overweight. Shares have declined more than 20% year to date. Insurance group American International Group was also highlighted as a dividend stock with large potential upside. AIG shares have tumbled almost 25% year to date. But, UBS sees shares gaining 64.8%. Pharmacy services giant CVS also made UBS’s list. CVS shares have dropped 20.5% since the start of 2023. However, UBS anticipates upside of 37.2%. Earlier in March, CVS was one of the most oversold stocks in the S & P 500. —CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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