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Defensive investors like high-dividend-yielding stocks. They also prefer companies with high growth rates to achieve sustainable profits and protect themselves from inflation. During the recent economic turmoil, and even before that, we have been recommending investors play defensively by purchasing dividend stocks with excellent growth rates.

Below we compiled a list of 13 large cap companies with high growth rates andwhich pay fat dividend checks regularly. All companies in this list have market capitalizations above $10 billion, five-years EPS growth rates higher than 10%, and dividend yields of at least 4%. These 13 stocks returned 9.35% since the beginning of this year, beating the SPY, which lost 3.54% during the same period.

Ticker

Company

Dividend Yield

YTD Return

(NYSE:LO)

Lorillard, Inc.

4.65%

42.14%

(NYSE:WPZ)

Williams Partners L.P.

5.34%

21.34%

(NYSE:TU)

TELUS Corporation

4.38%

20.03%

(NYSE:LLY)

Eli Lilly & Co.

5.24%

11.43%

(NYSE:PEG)

Public Service Enterprise Group

4.02%

10.55%

(NYSE:NLY)

Annaly Capital Management

14.51%

7.63%

(NYSE:NEE)

NextEra Energy, Inc.

4.05%

7.18%

(NYSE:EXC)

Exelon Corp.

4.89%

6.27%

(NYSE:HCP)

HCP, Inc.

5.23%

2.23%

(NYSE:SDRL)

SeaDrill Limited

9.31%

0.47%

(NYSE:T)

AT&T, Inc.

6.03%

0.35%

(NYSE:CM)

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

4.77%

0.21%

(NYSE:RTN)

Raytheon Co.

4.14%

-8.25%

Among the 13 stocks, only RTN underperformed the market this year, while the rest beat the market. Here are the top 10 safe dividend stocks with the highest YTD returns:

Lorillard Inc (LO): Lorillard is a manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States. LO recently traded at $111.85 and has a 4.65% dividend yield. The stock returned 42.14% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 15.33. Jim Simons holds more than $300 million in LO (check out Simons’ top stock picks).

William Partners LP (WPZ): Williams is an integrated natural gas company. WPZ recently traded at $54.26 and has a 5.34% dividend yield. The stock returned 21.34% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 17.68. Jean Marie Eveillard holds more than $80 million in WPZ.

TELUS Corporation (TU): TELUS is a telecommunications companies, providing a range of telecommunications products and services. TU recently traded at $50.91 and has a 4.38% dividend yield. The stock returned 20.03% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 14.61. Jim Simons holds more than $30 million in TU.

Eli Lilly & Co (LLY): Eli Lilly and Company discovers, develops, manufactures and sells products in one business segment, pharmaceutical products. LLY recently traded at $37.7 and has a 5.24% dividend yield. The stock returned 11.43% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 8.79. Jim Simons holds more than $300 million LLY stocks.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (PEG): PEG is an energy company with operations located primarily in the Northeastern and Mid Atlantic United States. PEG recently traded at $34.53 and has a 4.02% dividend yield. The stock returned 10.55% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 10.67. Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson hold more than $60 million PEG stocks.

Annaly Capital Management Inc (NLY): Annaly Capital Management owns, manages and finances a portfolio of real estate related investments. NLY recently traded at $17.9 and has a 14.51% dividend yield. The stock returned 7.63% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 6.27. Bill Miller holds the biggest position in NLY among the 300+ funds we are tracking (check out Miller’s top stock picks).

NextEra Energy Inc (NEE): NextEra Energy is an electric power company in North America and the United States. NEE recently traded at $55.43 and has a 4.05% dividend yield. The stock returned 7.18% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 12.38. Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson hold more than $60 million in NEE.

Exelon Corp (EXC): Exelon is a utility services holding company. EXC recently traded at $43.7 and has a 4.89% dividend yield. The stock returned 6.27% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 10.73. Steven Cohen holds more than $60 million in EXC (check out Cohen’s top stock picks).

HCP Inc (HCP): HCP is a real estate investment trust mainly investing in real estate serving the healthcare industry in the United States. HCP recently traded at $37.15 and has a 5.23% dividend yield. The stock returned 2.23% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 32.23. D.E. Shaw holds more than $60 million in HCP.

SeaDrill Limited (SDRL): SeaDrill Limited is a Bermuda-based company active in the oil and gas industry. SDRL recently traded at $32.50 and has a 9.3% trailing twelve month dividend yield. The stock returned 0.47% since the beginning of this year. Current P/E ratio is 6.85. Jeffrey Vinik holds more than $50 million in SDRL.

Source: 13 Strong, Growing Dividend Stocks For The Defensive Investor