Smart Dividend Investors Should Look at These 7 High-Yielding Stocks

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 |  Includes: ABT, BMY, KO, MRK, NVS, T, VZ
by: Investment Underground

We’re always examining and re-examining the current state of the dividend payers in today’s market. We recently ran down the best dividend stocks in the oil patch. And if you’re looking for some more interesting yield ideas, we think all smart dividend investors should check out the list below. As always, use this list as a starting point for your own due diligence.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ): Verizon pay a hefty 5.10% dividend yield. This market leader (the company serves around 94 million subscribers or approximately 25% of the US population) already has an extremely loyal consumer base, and with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone pre-orders doing gangbusters thus far, we think those relationships will only grow stronger.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY): This pharmaceutical behemoth demonstrates resilience in its margins through inflationary quarters dating back to 1976. BMY has a market cap of $42.51B, and has a dividend yield of 5.00%. A new BMY drug, Ipilimumab, intended to treat melanoma and other tumors, is up for FDA marketing approval later this month. We think this is a great drug stock to consider for your golden years. Many people consider the drug as BMY’s most important developmental product. If approved, it would be a significant breakthrough as the first melanoma drug approved in 13 years. Experts are optimistic that it will receive approval.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO): This Buffett friendly beverage giant has steadily increased dividends for 49 straight years. The 37% payout ratio is widely sustainable as well. Perhaps a word of caution to those investing today, KO hit its 52-week high Friday and as a result its current yield has stumbled down to 2.83%.

AT&T (NYSE:T): AT&T made waves recently, after being a multi-year leader in adoption of Apple's iPhone technology. AT&T is looking to purchase the fourth largest cell phone provider in the states, T-Mobile. This provides valuable, complementary spectrum to AT&T's non-CDMA technology and an exit plan for Deutsche Telecom (OTCQX:DTEGY). Shares trade at a P/E of 8.8, P/B of 1.5, and P/S of 1.4. The industry averages are 16.1, 2.0, and 1.4, respectively. From 2001 to 2007, T shares traded at a P/S of 2.9, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 1.9, 2.2 and 2.2 respectively. In 2010, EPS was $3.35, which was an increase of 58.02%, after decreasing by 1.85% in 2009. The company expects mid-single digit EPS growth or better in 2011. Q1 2011, results are revealed on April 21. The stock yields 5.6%

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT): Develops and manufactures health care products on a global scale. Having increased the dividend for 39 straight years, ABT has cemented itself in the top 50 for active dividend increase streaks. The current yield of 3.91% is appetizing, but much more so in light of ABT’s near 10% dividend growth rate over each of the last 5 years. The payout ratio tops out at our 65% ceiling, but has proven to be sustainable.

Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK): UBS and Deutsche Bank both can’t say enough good things, both upgrading to buy with targets set between 20-25% above current trading prices. Merck also gets the Kahn Brothers’ stamp of approval moving out of 2010 and into another promising year for the drug maker. Yields 4.6%.

Novartis (NYSE:NVS): Another Buffett friendly pharma name, this Swiss drug maker has been on a tear this past year. With earnings per share this year expected to grow by another 15% and 5 year EPS forecast of 7%, revenue seems to strongly support the healthy dividends provided by our dear friends in Schweitz. 3.7% yield.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.