By Mark McLaughlin, special to CNBC
NEW YORK ( CNBC) --The stock market volatility of the past several months looks like it could stick around for a while, forcing investors to be ever more vigilant about how to position their portfolios. "Stay defensive, be in low beta stocks, and achieve returns through dividends," counsels Mark Tepper, a financial advisor with Strategic Wealth Partners in Seven Hills, Ohio. Dividend-paying stocks are one of the more popular recipes for coping with uncertainty. U.S. companies are hoarding cash, making quarterly dividend payments to shareholders currently a much more reliable source of returns than capital appreciation. Yet rapid sentiment shifts and potential bursts to the upside could leave buy-and-hold dividend investors flat-footed, says Ben Sullivan of Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Scarsdale, N.Y. "High dividend stocks may be seen as more stable, but they will not grow as quickly in a recovery,'' Sullivan says. "
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