19 high-quality, high-yield buys

These stocks pay out at least 3%.

By TheStockAdvisors Dec 19, 2012 11:26AM
Photodisc SuperStockBy Sam Stovall, S&P Capital IQ, chief equity strategist, The Outlook

One approach that we believe will never go out of style -- regardless of tax policy -- is the focus on reasonably priced quality.

Whatever the conclusion of the current fiscal cliff standoff, higher taxes on dividends will likely be included, in our opinion. Yet, that doesn't mean investors should avoid dividend-paying stocks.

First, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find stocks without a yield, as 80% of the S&P 500 now pay a dividend.

Second, the tax on dividends, at worst, will be equal to that on bonds, in our opinion. And with the yield on bonds near historical lows, and the economy likely to pick up the pace rather than slip back into recession, we believe there is greater risk in owning bonds than dividend-paying stocks.

While we still recommend stocks that pay a dividend, we recommend not "yielding" to temptation. We suggest an investor look to the past, the present and the future when selecting stocks.

Using MarketScope Advisor's stock screening tool, I identified 19 stocks that had three things in common:
  1. They each had an above-average consistency of increasing their earnings and dividends in each of the past 10 years, as defined by an S&P Capital IQ Quality Rank of A- or higher.
  2. hey each offer a dividend yield of at least 3.0%, to benefit from compounding and the lower volatility typically offered by higher-yielding issues.
  3. Each stock needed a favorable investment ranking (a STARS ranking of 4 or 5) by S&P Capital IQ's equity analysts, as analysts won't typically recommend a stock if they think the dividend will be cut. The stocks are listed below.

Consumer discretionary:
Darden Restaurants (DRI) -- yielding 3.8%
McDonald's (MCD) -- yielding 3.5%

Consumer Staples:
Altria Group (MO) -- yielding 5.2%
General Mills (GIS) -- yielding 3.2%
Kellogg Co. (K) -- yielding 3.1%
Lorillard (LO) -- yielding 5.1%
PepsiCo (PEP) -- yielding 3.1%

Energy:
Chevron (CVX) -- yielding 3.4%
TransCanada (TRP) -- yielding 3.8%

Financials:
The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) -- yielding 4.1%

Health Care:
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) -- yielding 3.1%
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) -- yielding 3.5%

Industrials:
Norfolk Southern (NSC) -- yielding 3.5%
Waste Management (WM) -- yielding 4.4%

Information technology:
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) -- yielding 3.1%
Microsoft (MSFT) -- yielding 3.4%

Utilities:
Nextera Energy (NEE) -- yielding 3.5%
South Jersey Industries (SJI) -- yielding 3.7%
UGI Corp. (UGI) -- yielding 3.3%

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3Comments
Dec 19, 2012 4:37PM
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Good points.Of course, if you don`t like stocks you can lock up your money

in CD`s for years and maybe get 1%.WOW!

Dec 20, 2012 11:01AM
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I already own about 1/3 of these, love dividend stocks. I hold them in an IRA so not really concerned about tax's on them they will be taxed as income when I withdraw. If people want to get involved I would recommend a mutual fund for dividend stocks to start. Would be costly to buy enough of these to get a good return.
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