Updated: April 20, 2016
With valuations stretched and earnings sagging—a forecast 7.9% drop for S&P 500 companies in the first quarter—it’s getting tougher to find reliable dividend growers at bargain prices.
You won’t find much comfort in the latest research from FactSet, either: in the fourth quarter, S&P 500 dividend per share (DPS) growth came in at 9.5%. That’s still healthy, but it’s the first time that figure has dipped into single digits since 2011.
But you should take that news with a huge grain of salt, because one sector—energy—carries most of the blame. In Q4, year-over-year DPS growth plunged to 2.4% among S&P 500 energy stocks, from 11.6% in Q3.…