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As the economy remains uncertain, it’s unclear how things will end up being fixed by the U.S. government. But one thing that does seem clear is that safer investing such as dividend investing is gaining a lot of ground. This makes it great timing to publish our monthly post about the top dividend stocks in the S&P500. It’s always a popular post, not only because of the list itself but also because of the fact that we start from that list when looking for high quality dividend stocks that help us build a passive income portfolio.

Over the past few months, we have looked at quite a few criteria that have helped us find the best dividend stocks including current yield, dividend growth and also companies that produce solid enough earnings to keep up the dividend payments. We summed it all up when we discussed the 20 things that we look for in dividend stocks.

Frontier Communications (NASDAQ:FTR) is once again at the top of our list and while it’s not clear how the stock will perform as a long term dividend play, what is clear is that many of these stocks are probably much better picks if you have a long term perspective. We will discuss how we filter through these in the coming weeks.

As we discussed this week, stocks in the communications sector were one of the two sectors that reduced dividends the most in the last quarter, a worrying sign for anyone invested in those stocks.

Hopefully this will help you when building your passive dividend portfolio.

Click to enlarge:

We will be filtering out the top 100 list to find the ones that fit all of these criteria! In the meantime, here is the list!

TickerNamePriceDividend YieldPayout RatioBDVD_NEXT_EST_EX_DT
FTRFrontier Communications Corp7.4910.01346.752011/09/07
WINWindstream Corp12.218.19150.632011/09/28
CTLCenturyLink Inc37.117.8192.652011/09/09
PBIPitney Bowes Inc21.556.8797.092011/08/10
RAIReynolds American Inc35.26.0281.342011/09/08
TAT&T Inc29.265.8852.322011/10/07
CINFCincinnati Financial Corp27.335.8568.72011/09/14
MOAltria Group Inc26.35.7877.982011/09/13
POMPepco Holdings Inc18.685.78173.382011/09/08
RRDRR Donnelley & Sons Co18.815.5396.712011/08/03
VZVerizon Communications Inc35.295.52213.722011/10/05
HCNHealth Care REIT Inc52.785.42554.642011/08/05
TEGIntegrys Energy Group Inc50.215.4294.562011/08/29
DUKDuke Energy Corp18.65.3897.072011/08/10
AEEAmeren Corp28.825.34264.752011/09/06
PGNProgress Energy Inc46.745.3183.832011/10/07
HCPHCP Inc36.735.23198.622011/08/04
LLYEli Lilly & Co38.35.1242.752011/08/11
PPLPPL Corp27.95.0263.352011/09/07
AEPAmerican Electric Power Co Inc36.864.9968.042011/08/08
LEGLeggett & Platt Inc21.74.9887.942011/09/13
PBCTPeople's United Financial Inc12.684.97254.492011/10/28
ETREntergy Corp66.84.9748.312011/08/09
PNWPinnacle West Capital Corp42.354.9667.882011/10/27
SCGSCANA Corp39.194.9563.562011/09/07
FEFirstEnergy Corp44.654.9385.462011/08/03
LOLorillard Inc106.224.962.682011/08/30
SOSouthern Co39.544.7875.752011/11/03
EXCExelon Corp44.074.7654.312011/08/11
DTEDTE Energy Co49.844.7158.252011/09/15
TETECO Energy Inc18.534.6473.12011/08/12
BMYBristol-Myers Squibb Co28.664.671.242011/09/28
NINiSource Inc20.134.5786.82011/10/26
EDConsolidated Edison Inc52.64.5668.152011/08/15
FIIFederated Investors Inc21.374.49127.682011/08/04
MRKMerck & Co Inc34.134.45549.362011/09/13
PCLPlum Creek Timber Co Inc38.224.39134.652011/08/12
PCGPG&E Corp41.434.3960.242011/09/28
PAYXPaychex Inc28.234.3987.092011/10/27
CMSCMS Energy Corp19.144.3943.382011/08/03
XELXcel Energy Inc244.3361.82011/09/20
WMWaste Management Inc31.494.3263.382011/09/08
KMBKimberly-Clark Corp65.364.2858.872011/09/07
PEGPublic Service Enterprise Group Inc32.754.1844.512011/09/07
PFEPfizer Inc19.244.1672.182011/08/03
MCHPMicrochip Technology Inc33.754.159.842011/08/16
DDominion Resources Inc/VA48.454.0736.372011/08/24
SVUSUPERVALU Inc8.64.07N/A2011/08/30
CNPCenterPoint Energy Inc19.584.0372.352011/08/12
HRBH&R Block Inc14.964.0132.932011/09/14
NEENextEra Energy Inc55.253.9841.932011/08/24
LMTLockheed Martin Corp75.733.9636.642011/08/30
HCBKHudson City Bancorp Inc8.253.8855.052011/08/03
SESpectra Energy Corp27.023.8562.322011/08/10
RTNRaytheon Co44.733.8430.62011/10/05
SRESempra Energy50.693.7951.562011/09/27
KIMKimco Realty Corp19.033.79361.292011/10/03
INTCIntel Corp22.333.7630.562011/08/03
ABTAbbott Laboratories51.323.7459.052011/10/14
NUENucor Corp38.893.73339.92011/09/28
COPConocoPhillips71.993.6727.952011/10/27
HNZHJ Heinz Co52.643.6558.232011/09/19
PMPhilip Morris International Inc71.173.661.772011/09/23
NYXNYSE Euronext33.463.5943.852011/09/13
CAGConAgra Foods Inc25.613.5945.882011/10/26
IPInternational Paper Co29.73.5427.482011/08/11
KLACKLA-Tencor Corp39.823.5221.052011/08/11
JNJJohnson & Johnson64.793.5243.542011/08/26
AVPAvon Products Inc26.233.5163.712011/08/15
CPBCampbell Soup Co33.053.5144.082011/10/06
MATMattel Inc26.663.4542.532011/08/29
MOLXMolex Inc23.483.41137.892011/09/27
PGProcter & Gamble Co/The61.493.4148.842011/10/19
SYYSysco Corp30.593.449.642011/09/28
GASNicor Inc54.73.461.422011/09/28
DPSDr Pepper Snapple Group Inc37.763.3940.982011/09/15
WECWisconsin Energy Corp30.653.3941.152011/08/10
GPCGenuine Parts Co53.163.3854.452011/09/07
DRIDarden Restaurants Inc50.83.3836.832011/10/05
KFTKraft Foods Inc34.383.3781.982011/09/27
EIXEdison International38.073.3632.912011/09/28
GEGeneral Electric Co17.913.3542.292011/09/15
CLXClorox Co71.593.3548.092011/10/25
NOCNorthrop Grumman Corp60.513.3126.742011/08/25
LLTCLinear Technology Corp29.33.2838.152011/08/17
GISGeneral Mills Inc37.353.2740.562011/10/06
MTBM&T Bank Corp86.243.2548.212011/08/30
NUNortheast Utilities343.2446.842011/08/30
PEPPepsiCo Inc/NC64.043.2247.922011/08/31
MWVMeadWestvaco Corp31.143.2161.832011/11/22
DDEI du Pont de Nemours & Co51.423.1949.752011/08/11
PSAPublic Storage119.633.17119.292011/09/13
AVYAvery Dennison Corp31.553.1727.992011/09/02
IRMIron Mountain Inc31.633.16N/A2011/09/28
PLDProLogis Inc35.633.15N/A2011/10/03
OKEOneok Inc72.793.0857.842011/10/26
KKellogg Co55.783.0846.832011/08/30
BLKBlackRock Inc178.463.0837.622011/08/31
BMSBemis Co Inc31.63.0450.662011/08/17
HASHasbro Inc39.563.0335.192011/10/27
Source: The Top 100 Dividend Stocks: August 2011