High Quality Dividend Stocks In These Volatile Times

by: Brian Gorban

I don't know about many of you, but this volatility (illustrated by the S&P 500 Volatility Index, commonly called "The Fear Gauge" staying well over its norm of the high teens in the low 30's for the better part of a month now) has got me looking to be more conservative than usual, but instead of parking my money in the very low interest money markets which yield at best ~1%, why not look to take advantage of some very high quality consistent dividend payers?

Cincinnati Financial (NASDAQ:CINF) just announced its 50th straight annual dividend increase (that means not only have they kept their dividend but raised it every year since 1961 after a few wars, devastating recession in the early 1970s with the oil embargo, housing recession in the early 1990s, dot com collapse in early 2000s, Financial market collapse of 2008, second even bigger housing recession/depression that ended, wait at least in my opinion, it's still been depressed regardless of what the Govt. says for 5+ years now, etc.)..it currently yields a very healthy 5.8% vs. the S&P 500 average of 1.9% and 2-year bond yielding a paltry 0.2%. Author owns shares at time of this writing so is eating his own cooking.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has increased its dividend every year since it separated from the 1984 AT&T (NYSE:T) anti-trust ruling (previously was known as Bell Atlantic) and currently sports a very nice 5.4% yield.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has increased its dividend every year since it started paying one in 1992 and just raised it in these very bad economic times a plumb 16% to an .84 cent annual dividend giving it a very nice 4.2% annualized yield.

Other very high quality names that have great yields include Merck (NYSE:MRK) (4.7%), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) (4.2%), General Electric (NYSE:GE) (3.7%), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) (3.5%), Kraft (KFT) (3.4%) and Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG) (3.3%). For those looking at tobacco, Altria Group (NYSE:MO) is always a great choice (5.7%) and its sister company Phillip Morris (NYSE:PM) at (3.6%) with the additional international growth allowing for further dividend increases in the near future. For the junk-food lovers we got Pepsi Co. (NYSE:PEP) (3.2%) and Warren Buffett's favorite and currently ~9% owner Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) (2.7%). The biggest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), yielding 2.7% ... Find a great dividend near you!

Disclosure: I am long CINF.