5 Merrill Lynch Dividend Stocks to Hide Out In When the Correction Comes

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For investors not familiar with when or what “Black Monday” was: Monday October 19, 1987 was the day when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short time.

Now the Dow Jones Industrial has closed at a record high 12 straight days, one short of the 13 days set in … yep, you guessed it, 1987. While that streak ended on Tuesday, a new one may have started yesterday with the huge rally following the president’s speech.

While things for 2017 actually look solid, and earnings actually should improve, the bottom line is we are way overbought and need a sell-off to take some of the air out. While going to all-cash is difficult for many due to taxes, commissions and other issues, one good idea is to move some money to cash so you can buy after a sell-off. Another is to rotate to more reasonably priced stocks that are touch more defensive.

We found five stocks rated Buy at Merrill Lynch that may be solid ports in a selling storm. All have low to medium volatility risk ratings, and they pay solid dividends.

American Express

This stock has had a solid year and is on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list, but is still down almost 20% from highs printed in 2014. American Express Co (NYSE: AXP) provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide.

The company’s products and services include charge and credit card products; payments and expense management products and services; consumer and business travel services; stored value products, such as traveler’s checks and other prepaid products; and network services.

Shareholders receive a 1.56% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $90, and the Wall Street consensus target is $80.16. Shares closed Wednesday at $81.92.

Becton Dickinson

This top health care company is a solid and safe play now. Becton Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX) is a diversified global medical technology company that produces medical devices, instrument systems and reagents for the health care, life sciences research, clinical, diagnostic and pharmaceutical markets.

The company has grown into a large medical conglomerate with over 49,000 employees covering nearly 50 countries worldwide. The CareFusion acquisition significantly expanded the company’s medical technology footprint in infusion and medication management.

Shareholders receive a 1.6% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $195 price target, and the consensus target is $189.27. Shares closed Wednesday at $185.34.

Dover

This is a company that flies under the radar of many investors and is a very solid buy at current trading levels. Dover Corporation (NYSE: DOV) manufactures and sells a range of equipment and components, specialty systems and support services in the United States and internationally. The company operates in four segments: Energy, Engineered Systems, Fluids and Refrigeration & Food Equipment.

The company is another member of the Merrill Lynch US 1 list of high conviction stock picks, and it is an industrial that may be poised to have a stellar year if the initiatives from the Trump administration start to kick in.

Shareholders receive a 2.15% dividend. The $90 Merrill Lynch price target compares with the consensus target of $82.74. The stock closed Wednesday at $81.82.

Lowe’s

Many on Wall Street feel this company deserves a premium multiple to its peers, and it is also on the US 1 list. Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) operates as a home improvement retailer, offering products for maintenance, repair, remodeling and home decorating. Categories include kitchens and appliances; lumber and building materials; tools and hardware; fashion fixtures; rough plumbing and electrical; lawn and garden; seasonal living; paint; home fashions; storage and cleaning; flooring; millwork; and outdoor power equipment. The company also offers installation services through independent contractors in various product categories.

The stock is trading at a price-to-earnings discount to its rival Home Depot, as well as trading below its five-year and 10-year P/E averages. With earnings expected to grow at an 18% compounded annual growth rate through 2018, adding shares at current levels makes sense. Plus the analysts feel the dreadful storms and flooding in the west, especially California, could boost first- and second-quarter 2017 numbers.

Investors receive a 1.85% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price objective is $95. The consensus target is $81.35. Shares closed Wednesday at $81.45, up almost 10% after reporting great numbers.

Verizon

A top telecommunications pick at Merrill Lynch for 2017, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is a global leader in delivering the digital world. Verizon Wireless operates America’s self-described most reliable wireless network, with 109.5 million retail connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and it delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide.

While it appears the company is finally close to the acquisition of Yahoo’s core operating business, which plays well into Verizon’s strategic drive to expand into advertising and content, recent chatter has linked that company with a possible pursuit of Charter Communications. Merrill Lynch sees the deal as potentially dilutive for free cash flow in the first year, but positive in year two. Some see regulatory approval as difficult, but possible.

Verizon investors receive a 4.66% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price objective is $59, and the consensus target is $51.83. Shares closed Wednesday at $49.81.

Five very good stocks, rated Buy with low volatility ratings, and some are residents on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list of top picks. Stocks are said to go up like an escalator and drop like an elevator. If that’s the case, it may be time to make some changes.