While concern is rising that previously favored defensive sectors such as consumer staples and utilities are overvalued and vulnerable to pullbacks, dividend investors have some other compelling options among groups that can be considered alternative asset classes.

That includes master limited partnerships and exchange traded funds such as the ALPS Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEArca: AMLP), the largest MLP ETF. MLPs have historically shown a weaker correlation to energy prices over longer periods as MLPs act more like energy toll roads, profiting on the volume of oil moving through their pipelines.

Related: Downtrodden MLP ETFs May Offer Long-Term Opportunity

The MLP ETF includes a group of dividend growing partnerships. Held pointed out that the underlying names in AMLP grew their distributions at a faster rate last quarter for the third quarter in a row.  As witnessed in other areas of the market, dividend growth stocks and ETFs have outperformed in the long run, whereas dividend cutters have historically underperformed. AMLP outperformed many other MLP-related exchange traded products for the past year and 3-year periods.

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“Master limited partnerships (MLP) offer very attractive yields (the Alerian MLP Index yield is 7.2%), which can vary depending on the product’s structure. Oil prices have rebounded nicely off of the lows earlier this year and could be buffeted, we believe, by the sharp cuts in oil production in the U.S. and demand growth. The traditional energy sector, which yields a good amount more than the S&P 500 (2.8% versus 2.1%), should benefit if oil prices potentially move back into the $50s over the next several months,” according to note from LPL Financial posted by Amey Stone of Barron’s.

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