The prospect of a second stock market crash means that FTSE 100 dividend shares with defensive characteristics could become increasingly attractive to investors.
They may offer less risk, greater stability and a relatively reliable passive income should the stock market experience a major downturn.
With that in mind, here are two large-cap income shares that appear to offer a potent mix of impressive return prospects, as well as a degree of stability in what continues to be a very uncertain period for the wider economy.
While numerous FTSE 100 shares have downgraded their forecasts after the stock market crash, GSK (LSE: GSK) maintained its financial guidance following its most recent quarterly update. Although there are risks facing the business, such as logistical challenges within its supply chain, its sales performance is less dependent on the prospects for the world economy than many of its index peers.
As such, the business has stated that it intends to maintain its dividend payout at around 20p per share per quarter. This equates to a dividend yield of just under 5%, which could become increasingly attractive due to the prospect of an extended period of low interest rates.
Furthermore, GSK could offer strong earnings growth that allows its share price to outperform many of its FTSE 100 peers. Its plans to reorganise its structure may create a more efficient business model, while its recent quarterly update highlighted its 19% sales growth and improvements that are being made within its pipeline.
Therefore, now could be the right time to buy a slice of the business while the prospect of a second stock market crash is likely to remain a very real threat to investors over the coming months.
FTSE 100 utility stock National Grid
Another FTSE 100 stock that could offer defensive appeal and a relatively resilient dividend income is National Grid (LSE: NG). Its recent annual results highlighted its operational resilience despite logistical challenges, while it expects no long-term material impact related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, it increased its dividend payout by 2.6% versus the prior year. Its capacity to offer inflation-beating income growth, as well as a 5.4% yield, could make it an increasingly attractive income investing opportunity at a time when many large-cap shares are reducing their shareholder payouts.
Of course, the company faces regulatory uncertainty that could hold back its share price performance in the short run, as well as impact negatively on its returns in the long term. However, with a relatively high yield and the prospect of a second market crash, its overall appeal could increase relative to other FTSE 100 shares.
Therefore, now could be the right time to buy a slice of National Grid while many blue-chip shares look set to disappoint dividend investors over the coming months.
Peter Stephens owns shares of GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.