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Payout ratios are used by dividend investors to help determine how safe a dividend is. The higher the payout ratio, the less likely it is that the company will be able to continue paying out its current dividend. A company's payout ratio is calculated by dividing its dividend per share by earnings per share.

When searching for the best dividend stocks we favor stocks that have payout ratios under 60%. Today we are highlighting stocks that have payout ratios under 40% and a dividend yield over 4%. We have eliminated stocks that have had recent dividend cuts, which greatly narrowed down the list.

AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN)

AstraZeneca has a dividend yield of 6.2% which is above its 5 year yield average of 5.6%. AZN has a 5 year dividend growth rate of 10.2%. The company has raised its dividend for 9 consecutive years and has a payout ratio of just 38%.

AstraZeneca is a global biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes prescription medicines for six areas of healthcare. These areas include Respiratory and Inflammation, Oncology, Neuroscience, Infection, Gastrointestinal and Cardiovascular. The company produces a range of medicines to fight illness as well.

Deluxe Corp (NYSE:DLX)

Deluxe Corp has a dividend yield of 4.1% compared to its 5 year yield average of 6.3%. It has a payout ratio of 36% and has been paying dividend since 1990. The company has not raised its dividend from $1 per share since 2007.

Deluxe Corp provides a very wide range of paper products and marketing materials to its customers. It used direct marketing, client referrals and the Internet for its marketing services. The company's paper products include checks, business cards, stationary and greeting cards.

Artio Global Investors, Inc. (NYSE:ART)

Artio Global has a dividend yield of 5% and a payout ratio of just 18%. The company has only been paying dividend since 2010 and has not raised its dividend of $.24 per share since then. Due to its short history of dividend payments it does not have traditional averages and growth rates.

Artrio is an asset management company that provides investment advice to its mutual fund and institutional clients. The company's main objective is to generate investment returns for its clients through equity and fixed income investments. Most of the Company's clients are based in the U.S.

American Greetings (NYSE:AM-OLD)

American Greetings has a dividend yield of 4% with a 5 year yield average of 4.8%. AM has a low payout ratio of 30%. It has a 5 year dividend growth rate of 13.7% and has been paying dividends since 1990.

American Greetings makes greeting cards and social expression products that include wrapping paper, party goods and giftware. The company's products are manufactured and sold in North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The company's electronic greeting cards are of course distributed all over the world.

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