Quarterly Update

David A. Shapiro, Senior Portfolio Manager, Senior Equity Analyst | April 2022

Equity Income: Checking in on Dividend Stocks after a Volatile 1Q

Despite some mean reversion, valuation gaps and yield spreads remain ongoing tailwinds relative to the broader market

Generate income from companies with resilient, growing free cash flow

Remain positioned for economic growth, inflation and interest rates, all elevated but moderating

Amidst a volatile market, here’s an early assessment of dividend stock performance so far this year relative to our outlook.

How did we envision the year playing out and where do we stand three months in? Our 2022 outlook discussed expectations for higher volatility, and we’ve certainly seen that.

We expected robust economic growth to continue, but moderate. It remains above trend, which we see continuing but with further moderation. A contributing factor is inflation, which looks to be elevated for longer, partially driven by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Interest rates have risen, with the start of Fed increases making that true across the yield curve.

We have seen our portfolio companies continuing to execute well amidst the challenging environment. Dividend growth has exceeded expectations, moving toward the upper end of our long-term range of mid-single digits.

Dividend stocks have held up well. Our benchmark, the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index, ended 1Q22 up 5.4%, materially outperforming the broader market. Why? A few factors.

First, yield spreads relative to the broader market remained very elevated as 2022 began, and we have seen some mean reversion*. Second, rising rates have impacted valuations for long-duration equities, where future earnings and returns are a more substantial portion of overall value. These are growth companies. Dividend stocks pay out from free cash flow in the nearer-term, and are less impacted. S&P Value, with characteristics similar to dividend stocks, has outperformed growth by 8% year to date (YTD). We have seen some further mean reversion of high-multiple stock valuations, closing a little of the gap highlighted in the nearby chart. Third, the three sectors most materially overweight in the dividend index are utilities, financials and energy. Inflation and rising interest rates benefit the latter two, while volatility and geopolitical turmoil have benefited the first. These sectors are among the top performers year to date.

With the forward outlook similar to where it began the year and despite some mean reversion, valuation gaps and yield spreads for dividend stocks remain elevated, and we continue to like the outlook for generating income from companies with resilient, growing free cash flow.

*Mean Reversion: or reversion to the mean, is a theory used in finance that suggests that asset price volatility and historical returns eventually will revert to the long-run mean or average level of the entire dataset.

Key Points

Despite some mean reversion, valuation gaps and yield spreads remain ongoing tailwinds relative to the broader market

Generate income from companies with resilient, growing free cash flow

Remain positioned for economic growth, inflation and interest rates, all elevated but moderating

Stay Informed.

Get our Insight delivered straight to your inbox.

Important Disclosures

Important Information

Any opinions, projections, forecasts and forward-looking statements presented herein are valid as of the date of this document and are subject to change.

The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal or tax advice. This presentation is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned herein.

Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward-looking statements, which do not reflect actual results and are based primarily upon a hypothetical set of assumptions applied to certain historical financial information. Certain information has been provided by third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed.

Concentrating assets in a particular industry, sector of the economy, or markets may increase volatility because the investment will be more susceptible to the impact of market, economic, regulatory, and other factors affecting that industry or sector compared with a more broadly diversified asset allocation.

Private investments often engage in leveraging and other speculative investment practices that may increase the risk of investment loss, can be highly illiquid, are not required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors, and may involve complex tax structures and delays in distributing important tax information.

Alternative investments are speculative, entail substantial risks, offer limited or no liquidity, and are not suitable for all investors. These investments have limited transparency to the funds’ investments and may involve leverage which magnifies both losses and gains, including the risk of loss of the entire investment. Alternative investments have varying and lengthy lockup provisions. Please see the Offering Memorandum for more complete information regarding the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, fees and other expenses.

Investments in below-investment-grade debt securities, which are usually called “high-yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell, and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating.

There are inherent risks with equity investing. These risks include, but are not limited to, stock market, manager or investment style. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices. Investing in international markets carries risks such as currency fluctuation, regulatory risks, and economic and political instability. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, as well as increased volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity. Emerging markets can have greater custodial and operational risks and less developed legal and accounting systems than developed markets.

There are inherent risks with fixed-income investing. These risks may include interest rate, call, credit, market, inflation, government policy, liquidity or junk bond. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall. This risk is heightened with investments in longer-duration fixed-income securities and during periods when prevailing interest rates are low or negative. The yields and market values of municipal securities may be more affected by changes in tax rates and policies than similar income-bearing taxable securities. Certain investors’ incomes may be subject to the Federal Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and taxable gains are also possible. Investments in below-investment-grade debt securities, which are usually called “high yield” or “junk bonds,” are typically in weaker financial health and such securities can be harder to value and sell, and their prices can be more volatile than more highly rated securities. While these securities generally have higher rates of interest, they also involve greater risk of default than do securities of a higher-quality rating.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. As with any investment strategy, there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be met, and investors may lose money. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

Indices are unmanaged, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Index returns do not reflect a deduction for fees or expenses.

Alternative investments are speculative, entail substantial risks, offer limited or no liquidity and are not suitable for all investors. These investments have limited transparency to the funds’ investments and may involve leverage which magnifies both losses and gains, including the risk of loss of the entire investment. Alternative investments have varying and lengthy lockup provisions.

This material is available to advisory and sub-advised clients, as well as financial professionals working with City National Rochdale, a registered investment advisor and a wholly-owned subsidiary of City National Bank. City National Bank provides investment management services through its sub-advisory relationship with City National Rochdale.

Index Definitions

S&P 500 Index: The S&P 500 Index, or Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, is a market-capitalization-weighted index of 500 leading publicly traded companies in the U.S. It is not an exact list of the top 500 U.S. companies by market cap because there are other criteria that the index includes.

Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (LBUSTRUU): The Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index or “the Agg” is a broad-based fixed-income index used by bond traders and the managers of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as a benchmark to measure their relative performance.

GT2 Govt, GT3 Govt, GT5 Govt, GT10 Govt, GT30 Govt: US Government Treasury Yields

DXY Index: The U.S. dollar index (USDX) is a measure of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the value of a basket of curren-cies of the majority of the U.S.’s most significant trading partners.

Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index (DJDVP): The Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index looks to target 100 dividend-paying stocks screened for factors that include the dividend growth rate, the dividend payout ratio and the trading volume. The components are then weighted by the dividend yield.

P/E Ratio: The price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its earnings per share (EPS).

The Commodity Research Bureau (CRB) Index acts as a representative indicator of today’s global commodity markets. It measures the aggregated price direction of various commodity sectors.

The MSCI indexes are market cap-weighted indexes, which means stocks are weighted according to their market capitalization — calculated as stock price multiplied by the total number of shares outstanding.

Put our insights to work for you.

If you have a client with more than $1 million in investable assets and want to find out about the benefits of our intelligently personalized portfolio management, speak with an investment consultant near you today.

If you’re a high-net-worth client who’s interested in adding an experienced investment manager to your financial team, learn more about working with us here.