Where can you get higher yields without a lot of risk?
Savers are in hot pursuit of the answer to that question. It’s no wonder with the national average on savings accounts 0.06 percent and 0.79 percent for a 60-month CD.
Shares of Chevron, Caterpillar, Cisco Systems, Pfizer and IBM have dividend yields above 3.5 percent. “As a group, they provide a dividend yield roughly twice that of the current 10-year Treasury note. Held for a decade, the odds are good that the return will exceed that of buying the Treasury and holding it to maturity. These companies will take virtually any measure to avoid cutting a dividend,” says Robert Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. However, held for shorter periods, stock prices are likely to fluctuate, putting you at some risk if you have to sell them.
“Rather than focus on the risk of a potential investment in isolation, consider how this investment will interact with your entire portfolio. Combine investments that aren’t affected by the same economic factors,” says Thomas Walsh, portfolio manager, Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale, Westchester County.
“If your savings are in low-yield money market funds, shift to short-term, high-quality bond mutual funds. You’ll get attractive yields for a minimal increase in risk,” says Walsh.
You won’t get rich, but corporate bonds of companies like Alcoa and Case New Holland Tractor mature in 3 to 6 years and yield between 3 percent and 4 percent. Holmes Osborne of Osborne Global Investors in Santa Monica, California, says, “Comparable Treasurys pay about a half a percent.”