The Pessimist Pitch:

These stocks are great defensive Investments: There is also the pessimist pitch that gains resonance in bear markets. In an environment where investors have seen their equity portfolios wither as the stock market declines, stocks that pay high dividends offer solace. Summarizing this argument: Even though these stocks may lose value like other stocks, investors holding on to them can still count on receiving the dividends. In fact, during crises, there is a general flight to safety that occurs across all markets. While it manifests itself immediately as a shift from stocks to government bonds, it also shows up within equity markets as investors shift from higher risk stocks (often high growth companies that pay no or little dividends) to low risk stocks (often stable companies that pay high dividends).