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Worried About a Market Crash? 8 Safe-Haven Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

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It happens every 10 to 15 years, and the culprit usually is somebody or something that has been around for years. Silicon Valley Bank was founded in 1983 by former Bank of America managers Bill Biggerstaff and Robert Medearis to focus on the needs of startup companies. They came up with the idea over a game of poker and, in the end, the final result was that shareholders and depositors were dealt a very bad hand.
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The mere fact that the bank did not have a risk officer for the past year is telling, as one would think that a qualified officer in that position would have never bought longer dated Treasury securities with yields at the lowest levels since the great financial crisis in 2008. The one-year Treasury bill was up 39 basis points to start 2022. It currently trades at 4.40%, and that is exactly why the bank failed. SVB took a $1.8 billion loss after the run on the bank that was led by Peter Thiel, who encouraged others to get their money out and then, according to recent reports, did not get some of his own money out.

So once again, like 1987, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000-2002, 2008 and 2018, we stare into the abyss. This mess likely will get sorted out, and as usual, politicians after the fact will call for reforms. What should investors do now? Play it safe. Now is the time to buy short Treasury paper, because that 4.40% one-year looks enticing. For equity investors looking for safety, here are eight stocks rated Buy, that pay dependable dividends and are defensive in nature.

AT&T

The legacy telecommunications company has been going through a long restructuring, has lowered its dividend and has sold off or merged underperforming assets. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) provides telecommunications, media and technology services worldwide.

Its Communications segment offers wireless voice and data communications services and sells handsets, wireless data cards, wireless computing devices with carrying cases and hands-free devices through its own company-owned stores, agents and third-party retail stores.

AT&T also provides data, voice, security, cloud solutions, outsourcing and managed and professional services, as well as customer premises equipment for multinational corporations, small and midsized businesses, and governmental and wholesale customers. In addition, it offers broadband fiber and legacy telephony voice communication services to residential customers.

It markets its communications services and products under the AT&T, Cricket, AT&T Prepaid and AT&T Fiber brand names. The company’s Latin America segment provides wireless services in Mexico and video services in Latin America. This segment markets its services and products under the AT&T and Unefon brand names.

Investors receive a 6.09% dividend. Raymond James has a Strong Buy rating and a $24 price objective. The consensus target for AT&T stock is $20.28, and shares closed on Friday at $18.13.

Coca-Cola

This top Warren Buffet holding offers safety. Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. It has an incredibly strong worldwide brand, with 40% overseas sales.
The company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, it is the number one provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees and juices and juice drinks.
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Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy Coca-Cola beverages at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day. Also remember that the company also owns 16.7% of Monster Beverage, which continues to deliver big numbers.

Shareholders receive a 3.04% dividend. The BofA Securities price target for Coca-Cola stock is $74, while the consensus target is $68.64. Shares ended last week at $60.02.

Comcast

This top media and entertainment company remains a Wall Street favorite and is also a member of the BofA Securities US 1 1 list of top stock picks. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is the largest U.S. provider of cable services, with over 22 million basic and nearly 27 million broadband subscribers. Through its acquisition of Sky, Comcast now has direct customer relationships with 53 million subscribers.

Comcast now also has a foothold in the European market (Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) in addition to its U.S. operations. Comcast owns NBCU, which includes the NBC TV networks, Telemundo, MSNBC, USA, SyFy, Bravo, E!, CNBC, Universal Films and Universal Theme Parks.

Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.

Comcast comes with a 3.23% dividend. The TD Securities target price of $56 is well above the $44.40 consensus target and Friday’s close at $36.03.

Dominion Energy

Many of the Wall Street firms that we cover are still very positive on utilities, and this company is highly rated. Dominion Energy Inc. (NYSE: D) is an American power and energy company that operates through the following four segments:

  • The Dominion Energy Virginia segment generates, transmits and distributes regulated electricity to residential, commercial, industrial and governmental customers in Virginia and North Carolina.
  • The Gas Distribution segment engages in the regulated natural gas gathering, transportation, distribution and sales activities, as well as distributes nonregulated renewable natural gas. This segment serves residential, commercial and industrial customers.
  • The Dominion Energy South Carolina segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial and industrial customers in South Carolina.
  • And the Contracted Assets segment is involved in the energy marketing and price risk activities.

Dominion Energy’s portfolio of assets included approximately 30.2 gigawatts of electric generating capacity; 10,500 miles of electric transmission lines; 85,600 miles of electric distribution lines; and 94,200 miles of gas distribution lines. It serves approximately 7 million customers. The company sells electricity at wholesale prices to rural electric cooperatives and municipalities, as well as into wholesale electricity markets.

The dividend yield here is 4.78%. Guggenheim’s target price is $63, while the consensus target is $64.25 Dominion Energy stock closed at $55.40 on Friday.
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Kraft Heinz

Even in bad times, everybody has to eat, and this company always stands to benefit. Kraft Heinz Co. (NASDAQ: KHC) was formed almost six years ago in the merger of H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods. The company is a leading global food company, with $29 billion in annual revenues generated by such well-known brands as Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Meyer and Maxwell House. Buffett holds a big position in the stock at Berkshire Hathaway.

The company is the third largest food and beverage manufacturer in North America and derives 76% of revenues from that market and 24% from overseas. The company’s other brands include ABC, Capri Sun, Classico, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Ore-Ida, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Plasmon, Quero, Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Velveeta.

Shareholders receive a 4.20% dividend. Kraft Heinz stock is on the BofA Securities US 1 list of top picks. The firm’s $48 price target compares with a consensus target of $42.83 and the most recent close at $37.63.

Kroger

This grocery chain giant is always a solid idea when the going gets rough as people tend to go out less. Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) operates as a retailer in the United States with a focus on combination food and drug stores, multi-department stores, marketplace stores and price impact warehouses.

Its food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood and organic produce. Its multi-department stores provide apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products and toys.

The company’s marketplace stores offer full-service grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty care, and perishable goods, as well as general merchandise, including apparel, home goods, and toys. The price impact warehouse stores provide grocery and health and beauty care items, as well as meat, dairy, baked goods and fresh produce items.

Kroger also manufactures and processes food products for sale in its supermarkets and online, and it sells fuel through 1,613 fuel centers. As of January 29, 2022, the company operated 2,726 supermarkets under various banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Kroger stock investors receive a 2.24% dividend. BofA Securities has set its target price at $75. The consensus target is just $51.50, and Friday’s close was at $46.78.

McDonald’s

The legacy fast-food heavyweight is a solid pick regardless of which way the economy goes, and it is among the safest large-cap restaurant plays. McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) operates and franchises McDonald’s restaurants in the United States and internationally.
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The company’s restaurants offer hamburgers and cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches and nuggets, wraps, fries, salads, oatmeal, shakes, desserts, sundaes, soft serve cones, bakery items, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages, as well as a breakfast menu, including biscuit and bagel sandwiches, breakfast burritos, hotcakes and other sandwiches.

Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners.

The dividend yield is 2.28%. Tigress Financial’s $330 target price compares with the $294.85 consensus target for McDonald’s stock. The final trade in Friday’s session was for $267.20.

Procter & Gamble

The company offers a very solid dividend and consumer staples that are always in demand. Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies and one of the oldest in the Fortune 500. Its many brands include Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Charmin, Gillette, Oral B, Crest, Olay, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Ariel, Gain, Always, Tampax, Downy and Dawn.

The company sells its products through mass merchandisers, e-commerce, grocery stores, membership club stores, drug stores, department stores, distributors, wholesalers, baby stores, specialty beauty stores, high-frequency stores and pharmacies. The company has been very innovative in its product development process and uses that to help ensure future growth and cash flow. This should provide investors with years of steady growth and dividends.

Investors receive a 2.61% dividend. UBS’s price objective is $163. The consensus target is $155.02. Procter & Gamble stock closed at $142.93 on Friday.


These eight top stocks, while not the most exciting, are likely to withstand a vicious market crash. While they also would trade down if markets plummet, they likely would hold their ground better than volatile tech stocks and some other sectors. It may be somewhat comforting to know that investor Michael Burry of “Big Short” fame feels that we could put in a market bottom in a few weeks, based on how past banking crises have played out. That could also include a massive capitulation sell-off, so be careful.

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