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The return on equity ratio is a simple yet effective way to see how much shareholder value a firm is adding. It illustrates net income as a percentage of shareholder equity. This ratio also provides a picture of a firm’s profitability relative to how much profit is being generated through the firm’s equity alone. While there are plenty of metrics to look at when evaluating a firm, few can easily and directly illustrate profitability relative to an individual shareholder's equity stake like ROE can.

We ran a screen for dividend stocks have strong shareholder profitability (ROE ttm > 10%) despite global economic turmoil. From this narrowed pool we then screened for companies that have outperformed the market over the last 3 months.

1. Giant Interactive Group, Inc. (NYSE:GA)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Business Services

Market Cap

$807M

Beta

0.50

The company develops and operates online games within China. The firm’s divided yield is 85.19%. GA’s ROE (ttm) is 14.25%. The company has gained by 28.07% in the last 3 months. The short interest was N/A as of 08/31/2011.

2. PPL Corp. (NYSE:PPL)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Diversified

Market Cap

$16,460M

Beta

0.44

The company generates and distributes electricity internationally. The firm’s divided yield is 4.91%. PPL’s ROE (ttm) is 12.913%. The company has gained by 6.46% in the last 3 months. The short interest was 3.00% as of 08/31/2011.

3. Southern Co. (NYSE:SO)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Regulated Electric

Market Cap

$36,382M

Beta

0.28

The company provides electric service in four US states. The firm’s divided yield is 4.37%. SO’s ROE (ttm) is 12.02%. The company has gained by 9.03% in the last 3 months. The short interest was 1.40% as of 08/31/2011.

4. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Drug Manufacturers - Major

Market Cap

$52,688M

Beta

0.46

The company develops and sells pharmaceuticals. The firm’s divided yield is 4.24%. BMY’s ROE (ttm) is 20.74%. The company has gained by 6.44% in the last 3 months. The short interest was 2.50% as of 08/31/2011.

5. Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Diversified

Market Cap

$17,003M

Beta

0.53

The company operates a diversified utility portfolio of assets. The firm’s divided yield is 4.08%. PEG’s ROE (ttm) is 17.66%. The company has gained by 7.51% in the last 3 months. The short interest was 1.90% as of 08/31/2011.

6. Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB)

Sector

Consumer Defensive

Industry

Household & Personal Products

Market Cap

$27,414M

Beta

0.36

The company is a leading provider of personal paper products. The firm’s divided yield is 3.94%. KMB’s ROE (ttm) is 32.52%. The company has gained by 6.95 % in the last 3 months. The short interest was 1.50% as of 08/31/2011.

7. Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE:D)

Sector

Utilities

Industry

Utilities - Diversified

Market Cap

$28,455M

Beta

0.56

The company is an integrated gas and electricity firm. The firm’s divided yield is 3.87 %. D’s ROE (ttm) is 14.17 %. The company has gained by 7.09 % in the last 3 months. The short interest was 2.00% as of 08/31/2011.

8. China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL)

Sector

Commun Svs

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$197,023M

Beta

0.37

The company offers a full range of mobile telecommunications services in China. The firm’s divided yield is 3.74%. CHL’s ROE (ttm) is 21.46%. The company has gained by 7.90% in the last 3 months. The short interest was N/A as of 08/31/2011.

9. Advance America, Cash Advance (NYSE:AEA)

Sector

Financial Svs

Industry

Credit Services

Market Cap

$462M

Beta

3.10

The company is a provider of payday cash advance services in the United States. The firm’s divided yield is 3.37 %. AEA’s ROE (ttm) is 18.27 %. The company has gained by 14.43 % in the last 3 months. The short interest was N/A as of 08/31/2011.

10. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD)

Sector

Consumer Cyclical

Industry

Restaurants

Market Cap

$90,144M

Beta

0.34

The company operates the most well known fast-food restaurants around the world. The firm’s divided yield is 2.79%. MCD’s ROE (ttm) is 37.39%. The company has gained by 6.91% in the last 3 months. The short interest was 1.40% as of 08/31/2011.

We hope this list helps as investors do their own due diligence on dividend stocks.

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

Source: 10 Dividend Picks On The Upswing With Impressive Shareholder Returns