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Are you looking for a low beta, high-yield alternative to equities and corporate bonds? Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) provide investors income-generating assets with strong secular industry tailwinds. The majority of MLPs are pipeline businesses, which earn stable income from the transport of oil, gasoline or natural gas. Energy MLPs are defined as owning energy infrastructure in the U.S., including pipelines, natural gas, gasoline, oil, storage, terminals and processing plants. Many of these MLPs are well off their 52-week highs and trade at attractive valuations.

Midstream MLPs own critical energy infrastructure that possesses limited commodity price exposure and produces stable cash flow for owners.

MLPs provide investors attractive current income with an embedded inflation hedge. MLPs combine the tax benefits of a limited partnership with the liquidity of publicly traded securities.

As opposed to a corporation, a MLP is considered to be the aggregate of its partners rather than a separate entity. MLPs provide for pass-through income, thus they are not subject to income taxes at the corporate level. Owners of an MLP are responsible for paying taxes on their percentage of the MLP's income. This eliminates the double taxation typically applied to corporations.

Advantages of investing in MLPs

  1. Approximately 65% of the industry's revenue comes from fees, many based on government-regulated rates
  2. Contracts typically have inflation hedges embedded within them
  3. Companies typically have monopolies in their specific region
  4. Long-term demand is stable and relatively inelastic

In addition to providing strong dividend yields and an inflation hedge, the basket of MLPs outlined herein has outperformed the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) over the last three years, during the market recovery.

In a highly correlated, "risk-on, risk-off" world, MLPs provide access to asset classes that are less correlated to stocks and bonds. MLPs have only modest direct commodity sensitivity, as the company's business model is derived from fee-based contracts that are largely insensitive to commodity price fluctuations. The stable cash flows from fee-based contracts provide stable and strong dividends for shareholders.

MLPs are a limited partnership that are publicly traded on a securities exchange. MLPs combine the tax benefits of a limited partnership with the liquidity of publicly traded securities. MLPs provide access to a low beta asset class with rich dividend yields.

MLP screen criteria

  1. Market capitalization greater than $3.5 billion
  2. Beta is below 1.0
  3. Dividend yield greater than 4.5%

Investors who are not interested in picking specific equities can buy a basket of MLPs with exchange traded funds such as the Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEARCA:AMLP).

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP (NYSE:BWP)

Market Capitalization: $5.3 billion

Beta: 0.19

Dividend Yield: 8.3%

EV / EBITDA: 13.6x

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE:KMP)

Market Capitalization: $26.0 billion

Beta: 0.35

Dividend Yield: 6.3%

EV / EBITDA: 12.3x

Magellan Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:MMP)

Market Capitalization: $7.6 billion

Beta: 0.31

Dividend Yield: 5.0%

EV / EBITDA: 14.8x

ONEOK Partners, L.P. (NYSE:OKS)

Market Capitalization: $11.7 billion

Beta: 0.40

Dividend Yield: 4.8%

EV / EBITDA: 11.3x

Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE:EPD)

Market Capitalization: $42.0 billion

Beta: 0.59

Dividend Yield: 5.3%

EV / EBITDA: 14.0x

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (NYSE:PAA)

Market Capitalization: $12.4 billion

Beta: 0.49

Dividend Yield: 5.4%

EV / EBITDA: 12.5x

Enbridge Energy Partners LP (NYSE:EEP)

Market Capitalization: $8.2 billion

Beta: 0.63

Dividend Yield: 7.5%

EV / EBITDA: 14.5x

El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. (NYSE:EPB)

Market Capitalization: $6.6 billion

Beta: 0.21

Dividend Yield: 6.3%

EV / EBITDA: 8.9x

Disclosure: I am long BWP, KMP.