6 stocks with big, safe dividends

Shares with the highest payouts sometimes come with similarly lofty risks. These high-yielding names, for the most part, do not.

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Jun 14, 2014 12:08PM
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I have a portfolio of mainly Blue Chip dividend stocks and own AT&T and Southern Company.  But the ONE high-dividend stock I like the best is HCP, the gorilla of the healthcare REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust), which pays a 5.3% dividend that is a lower-than-usual 72% of its FFO (REIT equivalent of Cash Flow).  It is the highest yielding member of the S&P Dividend Aristocrats and has raised its dividend every year for 28 straight years.

Unlike most other REITs, HCP (and the similar VTR) have short-term contracts/mortgages/etc. that make it less susceptible to getting whacked when bond/mortgage rates rise.

Additionally, it rebounded MUCH faster from the 2008-9 crash than most REITs and is up 16% this year (including dividends).  It and Ventas (VTR) are the gorillas or healthcare REITs, though they have a slightly different makeup of types of medical properties.  Ventas (VTR) is also a great REIT.  It pays a dividend 1% less than HCP but there's a way around that:

Both HCP and VTR have no-purchase-fee stock DRIPs administered by Well's Fargo's shareowneronline.com.  You can join without previously owning a share as some DRIPs require.  And VTR's DRIP gives you a 1% discount from the market price for buying shares through the DRIP, which rectifies the 1% lower dividend than HCP.  HCP requires $100 min investments and I think VTR requires $250, but they come with no fees and you can set up automatic monthly investments, so you don't have to save up a couple thousand before buying in order to avoid a high percentage going to broker's fees.

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