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If one thing is clear it's that some dividend stocks just aren't catching a break in the market. That old adage that "dividend" stocks are inherently safer is failing to prove true with the names we've found trading near their 52-week lows. Still, not all is lost because we've found a group of dividend-paying companies that still have strong profitability relative to their asset base. While this may not mean much initially at face value we believe that it could be an indication that the company can still send the stock higher as things turn around or pick up again. The take away here is that while the market may have written off these dividend stocks for the time being we feel that they still deserve a review due to their profitability because it could be a tell-tale sign that better things may just be around the corner.

Return on Assets (ROA) illustrates how much a company is generating in earnings from its assets alone. This metric gives investors a picture of how profitable the company is relative to the assets in current possession. As well, it lets investors see how efficient and effective management is at generating earnings from the company’s assets. While most management teams can probably make money by throwing money at an issue very few can make very large profits with little investment.

We first looked for dividend stocks near their 52-week lows. From this narrowed list of candidates we then looked for companies with strong profitability (ROA (TTM)>10%). We did not screen out any sectors or market caps.

The list is ranked from highest to lowest by the ROA (TTM):

1. Portugal Telecom SA. (PT)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$6,072M

Beta

0.43

Portugal Telecom, SGPS, S.A. provides telecommunications services in Portugal, Brazil, and Africa. PT has a dividend yield of 13.34% & a ROA (TTM) of 37.31%. The company is trading 6.49% above its 52-week low. The short interest was N/A as of 10/14/2011.

2. Novo Nordisk A/S. (NVO)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Drug Manufacturers - Major

Market Cap

$63,835M

Beta

0.71

Novo Nordisk A/S, a healthcare company, engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceutical products in Denmark and internationally. NVO has a dividend yield of 1.23% & a ROA (TTM) of 21.33%. The company is trading 16.37% above its 52-week low. The short interest was N/A as of 10/14/2011.

3. Microsoft Corporation. (MSFT)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Software - Infrastructure

Market Cap

$225,446M

Beta

0.99

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. MSFT has a dividend yield of 2.39% & a ROA (TTM) of 21.30%. The company is trading 13.32% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 1.00% as of 10/14/2011.

4. Cellcom Israel, Ltd. (CEL)

Sector

Communication Services

Industry

Telecom Services

Market Cap

$2,160M

Beta

0.97

Cellcom Israel Ltd. provides cellular communications services in Israel. CEL has a dividend yield of 12.86% & a ROA (TTM) of 20.40%. The company is trading 15.11% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 0.40% as of 10/14/2011.

5. Colgate-Palmolive Company. (CL)

Sector

Consumer Defensive

Industry

Household & Personal Products

Market Cap

$42,810M

Beta

0.34

Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. CL has a dividend yield of 2.57% & a ROA (TTM) of 19.72%. The company is trading 18.15% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 1.50% as of 10/14/2011.

6. CH Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW)

Sector

Industrials

Industry

Integrated Shipping & Logistics

Market Cap

$11,382M

Beta

0.83

C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., a third-party logistics company, provides multimodal freight transportation services and logistics solutions to companies in various industries worldwide. CHRW has a dividend yield of 1.68% & a ROA (TTM) of 19.39%. The company is trading 10.51% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 5.70% as of 10/14/2011.

7. DeVry, Inc. (DV)

Sector

Consumer Defensive

Industry

Education & Training Services

Market Cap

$2,553M

Beta

0.76

DeVry Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides educational services worldwide. DV has a dividend yield of 0.63% & a ROA (TTM) of 17.85%. The company is trading 10.84% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 2.10% as of 10/14/2011.

8. T. Rowe Price Group. (TROW)

Sector

Financial Services

Industry

Asset Management

Market Cap

$13,392M

Beta

1.73

T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. is a publicly owned asset management holding company. TROW has a dividend yield of 2.26% & a ROA (TTM) of 17.43%. The company is trading 18.64% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 2.90% as of 10/14/2011.

9. Micrel, Inc. (MCRL)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Semiconductors

Market Cap

$653M

Beta

0.88

Micrel Incorporated, doing business as Micrel Semiconductor, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets high-performance analog power, mixed-signal, and digital integrated circuits (ICs) primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. MCRL has a dividend yield of 1.43% & a ROA (TTM) of 16.77%. The company is trading 19.18% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 7.10% as of 10/14/2011.

10. Eli Lilly and Company. (LLY)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Drug Manufacturers - Major

Market Cap

$44,400M

Beta

0.62

Eli Lilly and Company develops, manufactures, and sells pharmaceutical products worldwide. LLY has a dividend yield of 5.11% & a ROA (TTM) of 16.35%. The company is trading 14.61% above its 52-week low. The short interest was 2.10% as of 10/14/2011.

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

*Company profiles were sourced from Finviz

Source: 10 Heavily Sold Dividend Stocks With Impressive Profitability To Go Higher Again