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The investment world is currently preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. So what is the investment community focusing on right now? In our view, given that growth expectations and global economic recovery hopes have been dashed, the focus seems to be on operational efficiency. This because operational efficiency involves reviewing a company’s profitability relative to costs, and risk management relative to debt.

The Operating Profit Margin is a profitability metric that illustrates a company’s effectiveness relative to internal operational efficiency. In particular, this ratio takes a snap shot of a company’s profitability point right after all variable costs are covered. Company’s that are increasing this margin over time are generally earning more on every dollar of sales. This is always a great thing to see from an investor standpoint.

The Debt/Equity Ratio is a risk metric that allows investors to get a better understanding of a how a company is financing its growth relative to debt. The more debt financing a company takes on, the more volatile earnings become. In good times every investor loves “amplified” profits. Too often though, some investors forget that debt amplifies both profits and losses equally. Thus, any company that fails to or struggles to manage the additional costs of debt financing often hits hard times fast, which is why this ratio deserves more than a cursory glance.

We ran a screen for “boring” dividend stocks that have shown investors that can sustain strong operating margins (1-year fiscal operating margin>15%). From this narrowed pool we then screened for companys that have a debt/equity ratio below .3 for the latest quarter. Dividend stocks may seem boring to some, but the dividends they provide build wealth over time in both good and bad times. We did not screen out any sectors or market caps.

The dividend yield ranks the companies from highest to lowest:

1. United Microelectronics Corp. (NYSE:UMC)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Semiconductors

Market Cap

$5,247M

Beta

1.04

The company develops and manufactures integrated circuits for 3rd parties. The company’s dividend yield is 7.09%. UMC has an operating margin of 17.41%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.09. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

2. Universal Health Realty. (NYSE:UHT)

Sector

Real Estate

Industry

REIT - Healthcare Facilities

Market Cap

$445M

Beta

0.57

The company owns and operates health care and human service related facilities. The company’s dividend yield is 6.87%. UHT has an operating margin of 52.99%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.11. The short interest was 3.80% as of 09/30/2011.

3. Telefonica Brasil S.A. (NYSE:VIV)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$31,179M

Beta

0.48

The company provides cellular and other fixed telecommunications services. The company’s dividend yield is 6.44%. VIV has an operating margin of 22.51%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.13. The short interest was unavailable at this time.

4. Telecom Argentina SA. (NYSE:TEO)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$3,792M

Beta

1.10

The company provides a variety of telecommunication services within Argentina. The company’s dividend yield is 5.75%. TEO has an operating margin of 21.57%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.02. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

5. Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A. (NYSE:TKC)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$10,419M

Beta

0.65

The company provides mobile and telecom services within Turkey. The company’s dividend yield is 4.99%. TKC has an operating margin of 19.23%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.20. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

6. Grupo Aeroportuario del Surest. (NYSE:ASR)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Airports & Air Services

Market Cap

$1,648M

Beta

1.51

The company owns and operates airports through its subsidiaries. The company’s dividend yield is 4.65%. ASR has an operating margin of 40.71%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.03. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

7. Central North Airport Group. (NASDAQ:OMAB)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Airports & Air Services

Market Cap

$650M

Beta

1.53

The company owns and operates airports within Mexico. The company’s dividend yield is 4.38%. OMAB has an operating margin of 17.77%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.12. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

8. Sasol, Ltd. (NYSE:SSL)

Sector

Energy

Industry

Oil & Gas Integrated

Market Cap

$25,683M

Beta

1.43

The company is an integrated oil and gas company. The company’s dividend yield is 4.24%. SSL has an operating margin of 21.03%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.15. The short interest was N/A as of 09/30/2011.

9. Microchip Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MCHP)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Semiconductors

Market Cap

$6,294M

Beta

1.06

The company develops and distributes semiconductor products for embedded control applications. The company’s dividend yield is 4.19%. MCHP has an operating margin of 31.88%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.19. The short interest was 12.90% as of 09/30/2011.

10. PartnerRe Ltd. (NYSE:PRE)

Sector

Financial Services

Industry

Insurance - Reinsurance

Market Cap

$3,887M

Beta

0.47

The company provides reinsurance around the world through a variety of subsidiaries. The company’s dividend yield is 4.01%. PRE has a operating margin of 16.53%. The company’s debt equity level is 0.12%. The short interest was 1.30% as of 09/30/2011.

Source: 10 Profitable, Low-Debt Dividend Stocks Offering Real Yield