During periods of heightened stock market volatility, it can be hard to stop thinking about your portfolio. One tried-and-true method of taking the pressure off your investments this summer is finding quality businesses that use the strength of their earnings growth to support dividend raises year after year.

Dividend Aristocrats are an elite tier of S&P 500 components that have paid and raised their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. Emerson Electric (EMR 1.22%), Caterpillar (CAT 0.85%), and ExxonMobil (XOM 0.94%) stand out as three great buys now. Here's why.

Two workers operating on a transmission line.

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A Dividend Aristocrat with plenty of long-term growth potential 

Lee Samaha (Emerson Electric): Rightly or wrongly, some companies get labeled in specific ways. In the case of Emerson Electric, it's sometimes "that industrial company whose prospects are tied to the energy markets." In a sense, that's understandable; after all, Emerson's automation solutions (products, services, and software) for heavy industries process automation (the processing of raw materials) have significant exposure to energy spending. That said, only around 11% of the company's overall sales go to the upstream oil and gas market, and CEO Lal Karsanbhai is looking to sell its "commoditized upstream oil and gas businesses." 

It's an interesting approach because it makes Emerson a near-term beneficiary of relatively higher oil prices. But, at the same time, if Karsanbhai successfully divests Emerson's upstream oil and gas businesses, the company will be without the long-term risk of exposure to an industry facing a significant threat from the growth of renewables. 

Furthermore, Emerson also sells into a host of other heavy industries (chemicals, power, refining, etc.) and has significant climate technologies (products and services for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company customers) and tools and home products businesses

There's a lot to like about Emerson, and it's more than just oil and gas.

Caterpillar continues to emerge from downturns as a stronger company

Daniel Foelber (Caterpillar): Caterpillar stock went from one of the best performers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a market-performing stock after falling over 15% in one month. Part of the sell-off was likely due to a couple of analyst downgrades. However, the bigger story is that a prolonged recession could lead to less demand for the industries that Caterpillar serves -- namely construction, energy, rail and marine transportation, agriculture, and mining. Caterpillar's customers may be less inclined to buy or finance new equipment if the economy isn't growing quickly. This relationship was displayed in Caterpillar's Q1 results when the company reported strong revenue growth but weak margins due to inflation and rising input costs.

However, Caterpillar continues to prove that its business is far more efficient than in years past. For example, Caterpillar generated record net income in 2021 despite earning revenue far below its record year. That record net income paired with a lower stock price is the main reason why Caterpillar stock has just a 14.6 price-to-earnings ratio.

If the economy is in for a recession, then Caterpillar's results will likely falter, and its valuation won't look as cheap. However, the investment thesis for owning Caterpillar over the long term isn't centered around timing the market cycle. Rather, it's all about investing in a business that is well positioned to endure downturns, capitalize on uptrends, and pay a growing dividend in the process. With a dividend yield of 2.8%, Caterpillar stock is worth a look down nearly 30% from its high.

Fuel your fire for passive income with this oil supermajor

Scott Levine (ExxonMobil): Whether it's the fear of refueling your gas-guzzling Family Truckster before the next road trip or simply the thought of gassing up for your daily commute, high energy prices have drivers cringing every time they see their fuel gauges falling. Investors, however, have an opportunity to mitigate some of that pain at the pump this summer by picking up shares of one of the most alluring oil dividend stocks, ExxonMobil, which currently offers a forward dividend yield of 4.1%.

Consistent with the rise in energy prices, shares of ExxonMobil have risen 41% since the start of 2022, while the price of West Texas Intermediate -- the U.S. oil benchmark -- has risen about 35%. Despite the rise in ExxonMobil's stock price, shares are still attractively valued, trading at 14.3 times earnings. For context, ExxonMobil's five-year average P/E is 21.2 and the S&P 500's earnings multiple is 19.7.

People may be most familiar with the company's downstream business -- which includes ExxonMobil's fueling stations -- but it's the company's upstream business that has recently warranted attention. Working to optimize its portfolio by shedding high-cost assets, ExxonMobil recently closed on the $750 million sale of Barnett Shale assets. The transaction is part of the company's larger initiative, announced in January, to streamline its businesses. According to ExxonMobil, the restructuring will result in the company saving $6 billion by 2023 compared to 2019.

While high energy prices are presently benefiting the company's finances, income investors should place greater emphasis on ExxonMobil's long-standing commitment to rewarding shareholders. The company has logged 39 years of consecutive dividend raises -- a period during which it has increased its distribution at an average annual rate of 6%.