**The S&P 500 Dogs Of March**

S&P 500 Index prices were tallied as of market close March 30. Yield (dividend/price) results from yahoo.com/finance for 30 top yielding S&P 500 stocks stacked against analyst 1-yr targets led to the actionable conclusions elaborated below.

**Actionable Conclusion (1) 50 S&P 500 Dogs Showed 3.52% to 16.35% Yields**

Seeking Alpha reader requests prompted this series of index-specific articles reporting dividend yield plus price upside results for these indices: Dow 30; S&P 500; S&P Aristocrats; Consumer Goods; NASDAQ 100; Champions; Contenders; Challengers; CCC Combined; and Global. Bonus reports cover Bad Boy AllStars, and Sector Leaders.

**50 For the Money**

This article was written to reveal bargain stocks to buy and hold up to one full year. See Dow 30 article for explanation of the term "dogs" for stocks reported based on Michael B. O'Higgins' book "*Beating The Dow*" (HarperCollins, 1991). Now named Dogs of the Dow, O'Higgins' system works to find bargains in any collection of dividend paying stocks. Utilizing analyst price upside estimates expanded the stock universe to include popular growth equities, as desired.

**Dog Metrics Set S&P 500 Stocks by Yield**

McGraw Hill Finance, publisher of the Dow Jones S&P 500 Index states:

"The S&P 500® is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap U.S. equities. There is over USD 5.58 trillion benchmarked to the index, with index assets comprising approximately USD 1.3 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and captures approximately 80% coverage of available market capitalization."

Four of nine sectors placed dogs in the top ten by yield for March: basic materials; utilities; technology; financial. Top dog, Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) [1] was the tops of four basic materials firms. The other three basic materials firms placed seventh, eighth, and tenth: National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE:NOV) [7]; Ensco PLC (NYSE:ESV) [8]; Murphy Oil Corp (NYSE:MUR) [10].

In the second slot, Oneok Inc. (NYSE:OKE) [2] was the lone utility representative per Yahoo sectors.

Four technology firms captured the middle ground, slots three, four, six and nine, on the S&P 500 list by yield: Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR) [3], Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) [4], and CenturyLink Inc, (NYSE:CTL) [6], were followed by Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE:IRM) [9].

Finally, one financial firm claimed the very middle, slot five, HCP Inc (NYSE:HCP) [5] to complete these March S&P 500 top ten dogs by yield.

**S&P 500 Dividend vs. Price Results** **Compared With The Dow Dogs**

Relative strengths of the top ten S&P 500 dogs by yield as of market close 3/30/2016 compared to those of the Dow are shown in the graphs and charts below. Projected annual dividend history from $10,000 invested as $1k in each of the ten highest yielding stocks and the total single share prices of those ten stocks created the data points shown in green for price and blue for dividend.

**Actionable Conclusions: (2) S&P 500 Dogs Charged And (3) Dow Dogs Did Likewise to Close-out March**

The S&P 500 collection of dividend payers charged as dividends dropped while the single share price of the ten escalated through March. Dividends from $1k invested in each of the top ten S&P 500 stocks fell 3.9% for the period as their price inclined 6.4% to mount the charge.

The Dow dog bull run was shown as aggregate single share price for those ten rose 6.8% between March 2 and 30, while annual dividends from $10k invested as $1K in each of the top ten fell about 5.75%, according to IndexArb.

As a result, the Dow dogs' overbought condition (in which aggregate single share price of the ten exceeded projected annual dividend from $10k invested as $1k each in those ten) expanded. The price rise and dividend fall for the top ten in February was largely due to market price action.

**Actionable Conclusion (4): Dow Dogs Continue On Overbought****; (5) S&P 500 Dogs Show Normal Dividend Over Price Performance**

The Dow dog overbought overhang was $270 or 81% for a record in April; then broke the new annual record again in May at $421 or 117%.

June saw the gap narrow to $286 or 77%. Then the August market set a new gap high at $328 but merely 84%. A September retreat narrowed the chasm to $261 or 62%.

October action, however, put the gap at $299, or 77%. December brought a reduction to $266, or 68%. January went slightly wider at $295, or 72%. February widened the gap to $327 or 81%. March showed $399 or 104% to approach the May 2015 record.

This gap between high share price and low dividend per $1k invested shows an overbought condition. Meaning, these are low risk and low opportunity Dow dogs. The Dow top ten average price per dollar of annual dividend was $26.30.

Compared to the Dow dogs, the S&P 500 ten, while volatile, are not overbought, expanding their "normal" pattern of dividends above price. The Dow price drop for the first month of trading in 2016 appeared bent on narrowing the gap, while the S&P 500 looked more likely to extend its gap of price below dividend derived from $1k invested. The February and March bullish move by S&P500 dogs upset that pattern.

In contrast to the Dow, S&P500 Dog top ten average price per dollar of annual dividend came in at a low $13.63 as of March 30. That's almost half the price of an annual dollar of Dow dividend.

**S&P Upside/Downside Dogs In March**

S&P 500 Index prices were collected as of market close March 30. Yield (dividend / price) results from yahoo.com/finance for 30 top yielding S&P 500 stocks, weighed against analyst 1-yr target projections, led to the additional actionable conclusions described below.

**Actionable Conclusions (5) 10 Top S&P 500 Dogs Showed 7.05% to 91.57% Upsides, While (6) 6 Bottom S&P500 Dogs Dropped (6.27% To 11.59%) Per Analyst Price Targets To Late March, 2017**

The number of analysts providing price estimates was noted after the name for each stock. Three to nine analysts have proven most accurate in target price estimating.

**Actionable Conclusions: Wall St. Wizards Augured (7) A 5.09% Average** **1 yr. Upside & (8) A 10.06% Average Net Gain In the 30 List of S&P Dogs By March 30, 2017**

Top 30 dogs on the S&P 500 index stock list graphed below show relative strengths by dividend and price as of March 30, 2016 and those projected by analyst mean price target estimates to the same date in 2017.

A hypothetical $1000 investment in each equity was divided by the current share price to find the number of shares purchased. The number of shares was then multiplied by projected annual dividend amounts to find the dividend return. Thereafter the analyst mean target price was used to gauge each stock's upside to 2017.

Historic prices and actual dividends paid from $1000 invested in each of the highest yielding stocks and the aggregate single share prices of those thirty stocks divided by 3 created the data points for 2016. Projections based on estimated increases in dividend amounts from $1000 invested in the thirty highest yielding stocks and aggregate one-year analyst target share prices from Yahoo Finance divided by 3 created the 2017 data points on the chart below: green for price and blue for dividend.

Yahoo reported analyst survey numbers predicting a 5.2% lower dividend from $10K invested as $1k in the average ten of this group, while aggregate single share price of those ten was predicted to increase almost 2% in the coming year.

The number of analysts contributing to the mean target price estimate for each stock was noted in the next to the last column on the charts. Three to nine analysts was considered optimal for a valid estimate.

A beta (risk) ranking for each analyst rated stock was provided in the far right column on the above chart. A beta of 1 meant the stock's price would move with the market. Less than 1 showed lower than market movement. Higher than 1 showed greater than market movement. A negative beta number indicated the degree of a stocks movement opposed to market direction.

**Actionable Conclusion (9): Analysts Cast Top 10** **S&P 500 Dogs To Net** **9.71% to 105.92% By March 30, 2017**

Three of ten top yielding dividend S&P 500 dogs were tagged as top gainers for the coming year by analyst 1 year target prices. So this month the dog strategy as graded by wall street wizards was 30% accurate.

Ten probable profit generating trades revealed by analysts reported by Thomson/First Call in Yahoo Finance into 2017 were:

Williams Cos Inc (The) (NYSE:WMB) was projected to net $1,059.18 based on a median target price estimate from seven analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 55% more than the market as a whole.

Navient Corporation (NASDAQ:NAVI) was projected to net $370.14 based on a median target price estimate from seven analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 24% greater than the market as a whole.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) was projected to net $255.25 based on estimates from seventeen analysts plus dividends less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 66% more than the market as a whole.

Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE:IRM) was projected to net $227.84 based on estimates from five analysts plus dividends less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 22% less than the market as a whole.

Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) was projected to net $148.54 based on a median target price estimate from seventeen analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 32% more than the market as a whole.

Frontier Communications (FTR) was projected to net $120.32 based on a median target price estimate from fourteen analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 35% more than the market as a whole.

Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was projected to net $113.51 based on a median target price estimate from thirteen analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 56% more than the market as a whole.

Spectra Energy Corp (NYSE:SE) was projected to net $113.22 based on a median target price estimate from thirteen analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 34% less than the market as a whole.

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) was projected to net $109.74 based on a median target price estimate from twenty-six analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 35% less than the market as a whole.

GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) was projected to net $97.13 based on estimates from ten analysts plus dividends less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 33% more than the market as a whole.

The average net gain in dividend and price was 32.69% on $10k invested as $1k in each of these ten dogs. This gain estimate was subject to average volatility 14% more than the market as a whole.

**Actionable Conclusion (10): (Bear Alert) Analysts Predicted Six S&P500 Dogs Would Average A Net Loss of 5.86% By March 2017**

Six probable losing trades revealed by Thomson/First Call in Yahoo Finance in 2017 were:

Southern Co (NYSE:SO) was projected to lose $40.31 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from fourteen analysts including $20 of broker fees (which the dividend more than covered). The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 97% less than the market as a whole.

Helmerich & Payne Inc (NYSE:HP) was projected to lose $46.75 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from twenty-seven analysts including $20 of broker fees (which the dividend more than covered). The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 6% more than the market as a whole.

Ventas Inc (NYSE:VTR) was projected to lose $52.40 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from fourteen analysts including $20 of broker fees (which the dividend more than covered). The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 88% less than the market as a whole.

Murphy Oil Corp was projected to lose $61.77 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from seventeen analysts including $20 of broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 118% opposite the market as a whole.

CenturyLink Inc (NYSE:CTL) was projected to lose $731.66 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from fifteen analysts including $20 of broker fees (which the dividend more than covered). The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 2% less than the market as a whole

Ensco PLC was projected to lose $76.97 based on dividend and a median target price estimate from twenty-eight analysts including $20 of broker fees (which the dividend more than covered). The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 319% more than the market as a whole.

The average net loss in dividend and price with broker fees included was 5.86% on $6k invested as $1k in each of these six dogs. The beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 134% more than the market as a whole.

**Dog Metrics Extracted Big Bargains From Five Lowest Priced S&P500 Top Yielders**

Remember, four of nine sectors placed dogs in the top ten by yield for February: basic materials; utilities; technology; financial.

**Actionable Conclusions: (9) 5 Lowest Priced of Top Ten** **Highest Yield** **S&P 500 Dogs** **Projected 22.51% VS.** **(10) 14.83****%** **Net Gains** **for All Ten** **by March** **30, 2017**

$5000 invested as $1k in each of the five Lowest priced stocks in the top ten S&P 500® dividend kennel by yield were asserted by analyst 1 year targets to deliver 51.73% more net gain than the same amount invested in all ten. The third lowest priced S&P 500® dividend dog, Williams Companies Inc. , was projected to deliver the best net gain of 105.92%.

Lowest priced five S&P 500® dogs for March 30 were: Frontier Communications Corp ; Ensco PLC ; Williams Companies Inc ; Murphy Oil Corp ; ONEOK Inc (NYSE:OKE), with prices ranging from $5.63 to $29.04.

Higher priced five S&P 500® dogs for March30 were: National Oilwell Varco Inc. ; CenturyLink Inc ; HCP Inc. ; Iron Mountain Inc ; Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX), whose prices ranged from $31.10 to $34.17.

This distinction between five low priced dividend dogs and the general field of ten reflects the "basic method" Michael B. O'Higgins employed for beating the Dow.

The added scale of projected gains based on analyst targets contributed a unique element of "market sentiment" gauging upside potential. It provided a here and now equivalent of waiting a year to find out what might happen in the market. Its also the work analysts got paid big bucks to do.

Caution is advised, however, as analysts are historically 20% to 80% accurate on the direction of change and about 0% to 20% accurate on the degree of the change.

The stocks listed above were suggested only as reference points for an S&P 500 Dividend investment research process in April, 2016. These were not recommendations.

*See Fredrik Arnold's* *instablog* *for specific instructions about how to best apply the dividend dog data featured in this article.*

Gains/declines as reported do not factor-in any tax problems resulting from dividend, profit, or return of capital distributions. Consult your tax advisor regarding the source and consequences of "dividends" from any investment.

Many of these S&P500 dividend pups qualify as valuable catches! Check out the now 32 Dogs of the Week (AKA "valuable catches") found on The Dividend Dog Catcher premium site. Click here to learn more or subscribe.

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*Disclaimer:**This article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed to constitute investment advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a solicitation, recommendation or endorsement to buy or sell any security. Prices and returns on equities in this article except as noted are listed without consideration of fees, commissions, taxes, penalties, or interest payable due to purchasing, holding, or selling same.*

*Graphs and charts were compiled by Rydlun & Co., LLC from data derived from* *www.dividend.com**;* *finance.yahoo.com**; analyst mean target price by* *Thomson/First Call* *in Yahoo Finance.*

**Disclosure:** I am/we are long CSCO, INTC, PFE, VZ, T.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.