Though the labor market continues to improve, certain measures are beginning to show that inflation is slowing, moving away from the Federal Reserve's 2% target and not toward it. This could be a sign that the U.S. economy is getting weaker, despite a low unemployment rate.

But with the Fed looking like it's going to keep raising rates and certain sectors of the stock market looking a little shaky in recent days, investors may want to come back to a trade that's proved reliable in recent years -- dividends.

"While many would expect high dividend strategies to lag in such an environment, the opposite has been the case," RBC Capital Markets analysts led by Jonathan Golub wrote in a February 6 research note. "In fact, history shows that low volatility names - not high yielders - are actually the big underperformer as rates rise. Our work indicates that low volatility stocks have longer equity duration (more durable franchises), resulting in greater sensitivity to interest rates."

That may lead to investors looking to eschew the broader market averages (the NASDAQ is up nearly 17%, while the S&P 500 is up nearly 8% since the start of the year, in search of income.

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Large companies with plenty of international exposure, including companies like Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report , AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report , Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and others may decline less than the overall market or could hold up as volatility increases.

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