Power Dividends Rule the Day on Wall Street

Major dividend stocks DuPont, Pfizer, and 3M are outpacing the gains in the broader Dow Jones Industrial Average today.

Feb 4, 2014 at 3:30PM

Wall Street is back on its feet again today, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has only gained back about 43 points of the 326 it lost yesterday. The recovery isn't driven by anything specific; outside of the Congressional Budget Office announcing that the fiscal 2014 budget deficit is being revised down about $46 billion to $514 billion, there isn't a whole lot of economic news for investors today.  

What's interesting about the move today is that major dividend stocks are wildly outperforming the market. In 2013, it was growth stocks that enamored investors, but so far this year value has taken center stage.

The Dow's top stocks
Among today's Dow leaders are DuPont (NYSE:DD), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and 3M (NYSE:MMM), with respective gains of 2.3%, 2.3%, and 2%. What these companies have in common is strong dividends. DuPont and 3M yield 3% and 2.7%, respectively, and have histories of  paying investors dividends that are measured in decades. With uncertainty in emerging markets and questions about whether growth stocks are a good value, it's no surprise that money is flocking to these stocks.

Pfizer yields 3.4% and is helped today by good results in clinical testing for breast cancer treatment palbociclib. The stock is also riding the wave of an upgrade by Jefferies, which thinks the cancer treatment could be a game changer.  

This could be called a "risk off" situation, but it just means investors are seeking value in stocks as opposed to paying a premium for growth potential, as was the theme last year.

We don't know if the theme of the day will continue for long, but it's a time to consider that there are some incredible values on the market that don't require the same risk as growth stocks. DuPont, Pfizer, and 3M are all solid dividend payers with relatively low P/E ratios; in a market where value is hard to find, they're great picks.

Dividends can be a great way to beat the market
One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that it's true. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks in particular are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of 3M and E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. The Motley Fool recommends 3M. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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