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One of the most popular indicators of risk is a statistical measure called beta. Stock analysts use this measure all the time to get a sense of stocks' risk profiles.

Beta is a measure of a stock's volatility in relation to the market. By definition, the market has a beta of 1.0, and individual stocks are ranked according to how much they deviate from the market. A stock that swings more than the market over time has a beta above 1.0.

If a stock moves less than the market, the stock's beta is less than 1.0. High-beta stocks are supposed to be riskier but provide a potential for higher returns; low-beta stocks pose less risk but also lower returns.

All things being equal, the higher a company's beta is, the higher its cost of capital discount rate. The higher the discount rate, the lower the present value placed on the company's future cash flows. In short, beta can impact a company's share valuation.

Beta offers a clear, quantifiable measure, which makes it easy to work with. Sure, there are variations on beta depending on things such as the market index used and the time period measured, but broadly speaking, the notion of beta is fairly straightforward to understand.

Beta is a convenient measure that can be used to calculate the costs of equity used in a valuation method that discounts cash flows. My five low beta dividend picks for this article are Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), AT&T (NYSE:T), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE:SPH), and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP).

1. Reynolds American

Reynolds American has a market capitalization of $23.94 billion. The company generates revenue of $8,541 million and has a net income of $1,406 million. The firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $2,537 million. The EBITDA margin is 29.70% (operating margin 28.09% and the net profit margin 16.46%).

The total debt represents 22.54% of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 58.60%. Last fiscal year, a return on equity of 22.04% was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $2.27. Last fiscal year, the company paid $2.15 in form of dividends to shareholders. The earnings per share are expected to growth by 6.97% for the upcoming five years.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 18.48, Price/Sales 2.77 and Price/Book ratio 3.81. Dividend Yield: 5.71%. The beta ratio is 0.56.

2. AT&T

AT&T has a market capitalization of $197.23 billion. The company generates revenue of $126,723 million and has a net income of $4,184 million. The firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $27,595 million. The EBITDA margin is 21.78% (operating margin 7.27% and the net profit margin 3.30%).

The total debt represents 23.95% of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 61.36%. Last fiscal year, a return on equity of 3.63% was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $0.69. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.73 in form of dividends to shareholders. The earnings per share are expected to growth by 8.99% for the upcoming five years.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 48.61, Price/Sales 1.54 and Price/Book ratio 1.87. Dividend Yield: 5.28%. The beta ratio is 0.57.

3. Chevron Corporation

Chevron has a market capitalization of $195.29 billion. The company generates revenues of $253,706 million and has a net income of $27,008 million. The firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounts to $60,545 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 23.86% (operating margin 18.78% and the net profit margin finally 10.65%).

The total debt represents 4.85% of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 8.36%. Last fiscal year, a return on equity of 23.75% was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $13.61. Last fiscal year, the company paid $3.09 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends for 25 consecutive years.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 7.27, Price/Sales 0.77 and Price/Book ratio 1.62. Dividend Yield: 3.62%. The beta ratio is 0.77.

4. Suburban Propane Partners

Suburban Propane Partners has a market capitalization of $1.44 billion. The company generates revenues of $1,190.55 million and has a net income of $114.97 million. The firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounts to $178.86 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 15.02% (operating margin 12.03% and the net profit margin 9.66%).

The total debt represents 36.40% of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 97.19%. Last fiscal year, a return on equity of 31.90% was realized. Twelve-trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $1.23. Last fiscal year, the company paid $3.41 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends over a period of 14 consecutive years.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 32.95, Price/Sales is 1.21 and Price/Book ratio is 4.03. Dividend Yield is 8.38%. The beta ratio is 0.39.

5. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has a market capitalization of $27.35 billion. The company generates revenues of $8,211.20 million and has a net income of $1,268.40 million. The firm's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounts to $2,617.60 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 31.88% (operating margin 20.34% and the net profit margin finally 15.45%).

The total debt represents 53.18% of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 170.74%. Last fiscal year, a return on equity of 1.16% was realized. Twelve-trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $0.53. Last fiscal year, the company paid $4.61 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends over a period of 16 consecutive years.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 151.59, Price/Sales is 3.31 and Price/Book ratio is 3.71. Dividend Yield is 6.00%. The beta ratio is 0.36.

Source: 5 Risk Averse Low Beta Dividend Picks