The classic equity sectors to hunt for yield have been defense, consumer staples, and utilities. The idea has always been that these sectors provide less in the way of capital gains, compared to more volatile high-flying sectors like technology, but in exchange for the more moderate capital gains, investors get stability and yield.
This year, however, as investors have tried to navigate the tail end of the business cycle and changing stances by the Federal Reserve, fund flows have gone to those classic defensive sectors. The result is double digit gains for the stock itself pre-dividend in year to date performance. Consumer Staples Select (NYSEARCA:XLP) is up almost 19%. The utility ETF Utilities SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLU) is not far behind, up 15%.
Dividend yields have fallen under this scenario, and XLU yields just 3%, while XLP yields just 2.7%. It’s clear then, that investors are going to need to look elsewhere for higher yields.
Energy, being rather out of favor this year, is offering some compelling opportunities.