4 defensive shares I like for dividend investors

Stock markets never move in one direction, although, given the stellar performance of the ASX and global markets in the first few weeks of the year, you could be forgiven for thinking they do.

With volatility now beginning to creep in, I am looking for defensive stocks to invest in. Here are four stocks that still provide growth but minimise risk.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) The telco unloved by many in the market since the dividend cut of 2017. The dividend reduction was actually quite a sensible move, to allow for investment for growth rather than paying out all of its profits to shareholders. It now sits on a low PE of 11 and still manages to have a market-beating yield of almost 7.5%.

Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) A medical diagnostic company with a global footprint, Sonic provides pathology and radiology services in Europe, the US and Australia. It is growing its earnings per share at 10% per year, is on a PE of 20 and a yield of 3.5%.

InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC) Two things you cannot avoid, death and taxes. Invocare is a dominant player in the latter area, controlling over a third of funeral homes and crematoria in Australia. It pays out an increasing dividend, currently at 3%, although, it does sit on a relatively high PE of 29 due to its constantly increasing revenue and strong management team.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) Its chain of Bunnings home improvement stores continues to grow revenue and profit consistently every year. You also get Coles, Officeworks, resources, safety products and chemicals when you buy shares of this Western Australia based conglomerate. It currently sits on a PE of 17 and rewards shareholders with a dividend yield of over 5%.

Owning these stocks gives a combination of growth, income, and diversification, along with helping me sleep better at night.

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Motley Fool contributor Simon Proudman owns shares of Telstra Limited and Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited and Wesfarmers Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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