NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's anyone's guess which direction the market will take in the second half of 2015. Between the uncertainty surrounding interest rate hikes and the economic concerns in Europe, it would seem the best place to store your money for peace of mind would be under your mattress. But good luck generating any meaningful returns there.
Instead, here are three companies to consider. In Kinder Morgan (KMI) - Get Report, PG&E Corp (PCG) - Get Report and Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report, investors can own solid dividend payers that trade at cheap valuations, while diversifying their portfolios to withstand any volatility the market may bring.
Let's start with Kinder Morgan.
With a 48-cent per share quarterly dividend that yields 4.90% annually, energy giant Kinder Morgan is the most generous payer among the three companies. Not to mention, it's yield is almost three percentage points higher the average of 2.00% paid out by dividend payers in the S&P 500 (SPX) index. And evidence suggests the Houston-based company plans to become even more generous in the years ahead.
Kinder Morgan has been on an acquisition spree, picking off MLP's (master limited partnerships) that will allow it to lower its cost of capital. These deals will give the company the ability to grow its dividend by about 10% each year for the next five years, during which it should pay out some $2 billion. Not to mention, the MLPs acquired by Kinder Morgan already paid attractive dividend yields, making it possible for it to raise its dividend by double digits, while at the same time having excess cash to do more deals.
Kinder Morgan is trading at around $39, suggesting an implied 20% gain ahead based on its consensus buy rating and the stock's average analyst 12-month price target of $47. So with shares down 7% on the year, and down 3% in the past three months, KMI looks like a solid play not only for the second half of 2015, but also for the next five years.
Like KMI, PG&E, whose shares are down more than 3% on the year and down 2.7% in six months, has been disappointing in 2015. But the San Francisco-based company, one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the U.S., is another strong dividend payer to keep an eye on.
Aside from paying a 44-cent quarterly dividend that yields of 3.65%, PG&E stock is relatively cheap, trading at just 19 times earnings, against an average P/E ratio of 21 for the S&P 500. In its fiscal first quarter, reported in April, its operating earnings spiked 61% and the company issued an upbeat outlook for the second half of the year.
Based on fiscal 2017 consensus earnings estimates of $3.78 per share, its forward P/E drops to 12, which is five points lower than the S&P 500. And given its upbeat business outlook, suggesting 5% earnings growth above consensus estimates, PG&E looks poised to raise its dividend in the quarters ahead. So with shares trading at around $51, or 15% below is average analyst 12-month price target of $57, now is the time to pick up this stock.
Finally, we have Procter & Gamble, the Cincinnati-based company known for consumer goods like Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Olay skin care products. As multinational company active around the world, Procter & Gamble has struggled due to the strong U.S. dollar, which has devalued its sales in several of its key markets, including Europe. This has sent the stock down more than 11% so far in 2015 , though it's up fractionally -- less than 1% -- over the past twelve months.
The company is working to streamline its product portfolio, which includes divesting and discontinuing more than half of its global brands. These divestments include its Duracell battery line, which was acquired in November by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway for around $3 billion.
From my vantage point, with the company paying a solid 66-cent quarterly dividend that yields 3.40% annually, patience is the best play here. With shares trading at around $80, a look at its average analyst 12-month price target of $88 shows that stock watchers foresee gains of some 13% ahead. When it's all said and done, the new Procter & Gamble should emerge not only leaner and stronger, but more focused, making its stock a solid bet for the second half of 2015.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no shares in any of the stocks mentioned.