“As such, we should expect dividend-paying stocks to outperform during bear markets and underperform during bull markets,” Bianco wrote.

While dividend stocks may have outperformed the overall markets earlier this year, dividend payers began to underperform after the April 2, 2012 peak. [Slow and Steady: Investors Favoring Dividend, Low-Volatility ETFs]

“We believe this is due to there being no real sense of direction in the stock market,” Bianco added. “If the bull market continues, we can expect to see equal weight index outperform dividend-paying stocks.”

For more information on dividend funds, visit our dividend ETFs category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.