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2 Dividend ETFs for a Downgrade

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In light of Standard & Poor's' decision to downgrade the credit rating for U.S. debt for the first time in history, it is understandable that investors are on edge.

From an investing standpoint, conservative and fearful investors may find the rocky action over the past few days to be a prime reason to steer clear of the markets entirely. On the opposite end of the spectrum, aggressive investors may see the recent dismal action to be all the reason needed to dive into risky assets in hopes of making up losses by profiting from battered equities.

While both strategies may be alluring, I would encourage investors to take neither route. As I explained at the start of the week, given the market's performance and global headwinds, patience and level-headedness are the key traits that will be needed to navigate these choppy waters. Rather than playing into resounding fear or rampant greed, a conservative approach will likely be the best course of action.

On Tuesday, I highlighted a handful of ETFs that appear well suited to inject a welcomed dose of stability into an investor's well-diversified portfolio. While gold, safe-haven currencies like the Swiss franc, and mega cap stocks are all attractive in their own right, they are not the only asset classes that should be on the radar.

ETFs designed to offer yield by way of dividend paying equities represent another strong tool in an investor's arsenal. ETF like the iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund (DVY) or the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY) cast wide nets over the U.S. equity markets, targeting companies dedicated to providing investors with attractive yields that will come in handy in turbulent market conditions.

DVY's 100-component index is headlined by companies including Lorillard (LO), VF Corp (VFC) and Chevron (CVX). SDY, meanwhile, is backed by slightly over 60 firms, setting aside the largest chunks of its assets to Pitney Bowes (PBI), Centurylink (CTL) and Consolidated Edison (ED).

Dividend-paying stocks have become an increasingly attractive destination among the income investing crowd. As TheStreet staff writer Robert Holmes pointed out at the start of the week, the yields offered by 22 of the 30 companies comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently trump that of 10-year U.S. Treasuries.

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