“In this regime, interest rates could stay low while earnings growth remains sluggish,” Timmer added. “This combination suggests that price-to-earnings (P/E) multiples will stay in the high teens, where they have been for some time. This is a regime in which the stock market may grind higher (with the occasional downside shock), but not much more than that.”

Consequently, in this slow growth environment, investors may squeeze out greater returns through quality firms that continue to payout dividends. For instance, Fidelity will be launching the Fidelity Dividend ETF for Rising Rates (FDRR). FDRR will track large- and mid-cap dividend-paying companies expected to continue to pay and grow dividends and have a positive correlation of returns to increasing 10-year U.S. Treasury yields. Underlying stocks can include those with historically high dividend yields, low dividend payout ratios, high dividend growth, and a positive correlation of returns to rising 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields.

SEE MORE: Fidelity Joins Smart Beta ETF Marathon

Investors also have a number of high-quality dividend-paying stock ETFs to choose from. The Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG) tracks U.S. stocks that have increased dividends on a regular basis for at least 10 consecutive years and has a 2.16% 12-month yield. The Schwab US Dividend Equity ETF (NYSEArca: SCHD) includes 100 stocks based on strong fundamentals, dividend yields and consistent dividend payouts for at least 10 consecutive years, and it has a 2.79% 12-month yield. The SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (NYSEArca: SDY) holds firms that have a minimum dividend increase streak of 20 years for inclusion and shows a 2.39% 12-month yield. The ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL) only includes companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years and offers a 1.79% 12-month yield.

For more information on dividend-paying stocks, visit our dividend ETFs category.

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