As we head into the holiday season, it's been a terrible year for dividend stocks. The two sector ETFs with the highest dividend yields (Utilities and Energy) have been the two worst performing ETFs in terms of total return (dividends plus price appreciation).
Granted, yield goes up as price goes down, but that mathematical relationship explains only a small portion of the terrible returns for Utilities and Energy. And obviously the story behind energy stocks is not just about the yield. However, with the Fed set to begin a long and slow series of rate increases, one can only wonder if low total returns for high dividend stocks is just the new normal, at least through the next market cycle.