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Dividend yielding stocks can be a great opportunity for investors to build returns and hedge portfolios. They pay out quarterly or annually, depending on the company, and can really benefit an investor’s portfolio, adding to returns and offsetting losses. Point in fact, the S&P 500 returns were roughly flat for 2011 -- until dividends are included, that is. Once the dividends paid were factored in, the total return for the entire S&P 500 swells to 2.1% for 2011 -- quite a difference.

Using the stock screener at finviz.com, we developed a list of 7 dividend-yielding companies in the healthcare industry – each has dividend yields over 2%, payout ratios under 50% and betas less than 1.

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) is a biotechnology company with a $56.76 billion market cap. It is priced at 16.11 times its earnings. AMGN pays a 2.22% dividend yield and has a 6.53% payout ratio. The company has a 0.45 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.2 on a scale in which 1.0 means “Strong Buy” and 5.0 means “Sell.” It recently traded at $64.76 a share. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies had $80.29 million in AMGN at the end of the third quarter. Ric Dillon’s Diamond Hill Capital and Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management were also fans of the company.

Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE:BAX) is a medical instruments and supplies company with a $28.27 billion market cap. It is priced at 13.26 times its earnings. BAX pays a 2.67% dividend yield and has a 32.39% payout ratio. The company has a 0.46 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.2. It recently traded at $50.14 a share. John Paulson’s Paulson & Co had $349.22 million in BAX at the end of the third quarter. Ralph Whitworth’s Relational Investors also likes the company. He had $287.40 million in BAX at the end of September.

Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX) is a medical instruments and supplies company with a $15.60 billion market cap. It is priced at 13.02 times its earnings. BDX pays a 2.46% dividend yield and has a 28.27% payout ratio. The company has a 0.60 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.4. It recently traded at $73.03 a share. David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital had $113.05 million invested in BDX at the end of the third quarter, while David Blood and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management was even more bullish in the company, increasing its stake in BDX by +21% to close the quarter with $251.03 million in the company.

Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) is a major drug manufacturing company with a $46.17 billion market cap. It is priced at 9.52 times its earnings. LLY pays a 4.91% dividend yield and has a 48.65% payout ratio. The company has a 0.73 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 3.1. It recently traded at $39.88 a share. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies had $262.47 million in LLY at the end of the third quarter. Ron Gutfleisch’s Elm Ridge Capital and Cliff Asness’ AQR Capital Management were also fans.

Lincare Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:LNCR) is a home health care company with a $2.19 billion market cap. It is priced at 13.04 times its earnings. LNCR pays a 3.23% dividend yield and has a 41.71% payout ratio. The company has a 0.64 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.5. It recently traded at $24.78 a share. Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital upped its stake in LNCR by +82% during the third quarter. Its position in the company was valued at $126.71 million at the end of September. Robert Rodriguez and Steven Romick’s First Pacific Advisors also held positions in LNCR at the end of the third quarter.

Medtronic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) is a medical appliances and equipment company with a $41.19 billion market cap. It is priced at 12.31 times its earnings. MDT pays a 2.49% dividend yield and has a 29.29% payout ratio. The company has a 0.87 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.4. It recently traded at $39.03 a share. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset had $291.02 million in MDT at the end of September after increasing its stake in the company by +2% during the third quarter. Ric Dillon’s Diamond Hill Capital and Bill Miller’s Legg Mason Capital Management also upped their positions in MDT during the third quarter.

St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) is a medical appliances and equipment company with a $11.04 billion market cap. It is priced at 12.63 times its earnings. STJ pays a 2.43% dividend yield and has a 22.57% payout ratio. The company has a 0.74 beta and carries an analyst recommendation of 2.4 on a scale in which 1.0 means “Strong Buy” and 5.0 means “Sell.” It recently traded at $34.61 a share. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global had over $132.99 million in STJ after bumping its stake in the company by +13% during the third quarter.

Source: 7 Stable Healthcare Stocks Yielding Over 2%