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Since the global financial turmoil had sunk share prices all over the world, the stock markets have rebounded almost 100% from its low point in March 2009. During this uptrend, many stocks took advantage of the dovish environment to raise their dividend payouts and provide steady returns to their investors. Many of these dividend growth stocks become appealing to dividend investors as they have also increased their dividend yields in the last 3 years. Considering the fact that the recent disinflation period won't last forever, many investors should play more defensively and pick the high dividend yielding stocks in near future.

Below, we compiled a list of 16 large-cap U.S. stocks with high dividend yields and a high dividend growth in the last 3 years. The market data are sourced from Fidelity. All companies in this list didn't cut their dividends in any single year since the end of 2008. These stocks have market capitalizations above $8 billion, 12-month dividend yield of at least 4%, and 1-year dividend growth of at least 10%.

Dividend Yield

3-Year Div. Growth

52-Week Return

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP

KMP

6.33%

11.76%

17.94%

Altria Group

MO

5.82%

18.75%

38.90%

Reynolds American Inc.

RAI

5.71%

24.71%

50.85%

Enterprise Products Partners LP

EPD

5.56%

14.35%

29.12%

Williams Partners LP

WPZ

5.32%

12.99%

32.33%

Verizon

VZ

5.31%

13.37%

36.05%

Energy Transfer Equity LP

ETE

5.04%

16.67%

42.79%

America Electric Power Company

AEP

4.90%

12.20%

20.73%

Entergy Corp.

ETR

4.86%

10.67%

-1.39%

Lorillard Inc.

LO

4.77%

41.30%

59.14%

Southern Company

SO

4.70%

12.50%

25.59%

DTE Energy Co.

DTE

4.70%

10.85%

14.95%

PG&E Corp.

PCG

4.38%

16.67%

4.27%

Kimberly-Clark Corp.

KMB

4.23%

20.69%

13.21%

Ventas Inc.

VTR

4.14%

12.20%

18.81%

Dominion Resources Inc.

D

4.10%

24.68%

27.79%

AVERAGE

17.15%

26.94%

Since the end of 2008, these 16 large-cap U.S. stocks didn't diminish their dividend payouts in any single year and their average 3-year dividend growth is 17.15%. In the last 52-week period, the average return of these 16 large-cap stocks was 26.94%. Only one stock in this group – ETR– had a negative return in the past 12 months, whereas all other stocks except PCG provided double digit returns in the same period.

Here are the 10 large-cap US stocks in our list with the highest dividend yields:

1. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is an MLP that provides energy products transportation and storage services with its assets. KMP has a 6.33% dividend yield and returned 17.94% during the past 12 months. KMP raised its dividend per share from $1.02 to $1.14 in the past 3 years. The stock has a 3-Year Dividend Growth of 11.76%. KMP has a market cap of $23.75B and P/E ratio of 55.42. Michael Messner's Seminole Capital has more than $20M in KMP. (See Michael Messner's top stock picks)

2. Altria Group: Altria Group, formerly known as Philip Morris Companies Inc., is the parent company of five tobacco corporations. MO has a 5.82% dividend yield and gained 38.90% during the past 12 months. MO paid 38 cents of dividend per share for the second quarter of this year; a 18.75% increase from 32 cents of dividend per share for the first quarter of 2009. The stock has a market cap of $54.64B and P/E ratio of 13.52. Tom Russo had more than $150 Million in MO at the end of March 2011. (See Tom Russo's favorite stock picks)

3. Reynolds American Inc.: Reynolds American Inc. is one of the largest tobacco companies in United States. RAI has a 5.71% dividend yield and gained 50.85% during the past 12 months. RAI increased its dividend per share from 42.5 cents to 53 cents in the past 3 years, having a 3-year dividend growth of 24.71%. The stock has a market cap of $21.63B and P/E Ratio of 15.69. Jim Simons, Cliff Asness and David Winters are prominent RAI investors.

4. Enterprise Products Partners LP: Enterprise Products Partners LP is an MLP that owns pipelines distributing natural gas and crude oil in the United States, Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. EPD has a 5.56% dividend yield and returned 29.12% during the past 12 months. EPD raised its dividend per share to 59.75 cents in the past 3 years, having a 3-year dividend growth of 14.35%. EPD has a market cap of $36.55B. John Osterweis' Osterweis Capital holds nearly $70M of EPD. Chuck Royce is also among EPD investors. (See Chuck Royce's favorite stocks)

5. Williams Partners LP: Williams Partners LP is an MLP that operates in natural gas exploration, processing, storage and transportation services with its assets. WPZ has a 5.32% dividend yield and returned 32.33% during the past 12 months. WPZ increased its dividend per share from 63.5 cents to 71.75 cents in the past 3 years. Th stock has a 3-year dividend growth of 12.99%. WPZ has a market cap of $15.62B and P/E ratio of 18.85. Jean-Marie Eveillard's First Eagle holds more than $85 Million of WPZ. (See Jean-Marie Eveillard's other top holdings) Jim Simons' Renaissance Technologies also have WPZ in its portfolio.

6. Verizon: Verizon is a global telecommunications company. VZ has a 5.31% dividend yield and returned 36.05% to its investors during the past 12 months. VZ increased its dividend per share to 48.75 cents last year, having a 3-year dividend growth of 13.37%. The stock has a market cap of $103.88B and P/E ratio of 28.91. Phill Gross' Adage Capital had nearly $150 Million in VZ at the end of March 2011.

7. Energy Transfer Equity LP: Energy Transfer Equity LP is an MLP that provides natural gs transportation and storage services with its assets. ETE has a 5.04% dividend yield and gained 42.79% during the past 12 months. ETE paid 56 cents of dividend per share for the second quarter of this year; a 16.67% increase from 48 cents of dividend per share for the last quarter of 2008. The stock has a market cap of $9.91B and P/E ratio of 58.49. Chuck Royce holds the largest ETE position among the 300+ funds we are tracking.

8. American Electric Power Company:: American Electric Power Company is an electric utilities company generating and distributing electric power to retail clients in the United States. AEP has 4.90% dividend yield and returned 20.73% during the past 12 months. AEP raised its dividend per share from 41 cents to 46 cents in the past 3 years, having a 3-Year Dividend Growth of 12.20%. The stock has a market cap of $18.10B and P/E ratio of 14.79. Israel Englander, Steven Cohen and Phill Gross are prominent AEP investors. (See Steven Cohen's favorite stock picks).

9. Entergy Corp.: Entergy Corp. is an energy company producing and distributing electric power. ETR has a 4.86% dividend yield but lost 1.39% during the past 12 months. During the past 3 years; ETR raised its dividend per share once, from 75 cents to 83 cents, in 2010. The stock has a 3-year dividend growth of 10.67, a market cap of $12.15B and P/E ratio of 9.88. Glen Russel Dublin's Highbridge Capital, Clint Carlson's Carlson Capital and Cliff Asness' Aqr Capital hold the largest positions in ETR among the 300+ funds we are tracking.

10. Lorillard Inc.: Lorillard is the third largest tobacco company in the United States. LO has a dividend yield of 4.77% and returned 59.14% to its investors during the past 12 months. LO paid $1.30 of dividend per share for the second quarter of this year; a 41.30% increase from 92 cents of dividend per share for the first quarter of 2009. The stock has a market cap of $15.68B and P/E ratio of 15.61. Jim Simons' Renaissance Technologies and Jean-Marie Eveillard's First Eagle had more than $200 Million in LO at the end of March 2011. (See Jim Simons' favorite stocks)

Source: Top Stocks With High Dividend Growth Rates