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Companies in certain industries and sectors provide higher dividend yields than companies in other industries and sectors. For example, utilities and basic materials companies often provide attractive dividend yields. Within the basic materials sector, gold mining stocks often pay low if any dividends, while some steel companies, another industry within base materials, provide much more attractive yields.

The question is what are the top-paying dividend stocks for each industry group. From an initial list of over 7300 publicly traded stocks from AMEX, NYSE, and NASDAQ, I screened out any company below $500 million in market capitalization. This list is a good starting place for an investor looking to diversify across different industries while obtaining a good dividend yields. However, it is important to recognize that simply chasing yield is a risky exercise. I've also noted for each stock the % off the 52-week low. As expected there are several stocks that are at their 52-week low, suggesting a declining price and not a good dividend is the driver of the high yield. It should be noted that several securities listed are actually master limited partnerships. These are common in shipping and natural gas industries. Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE:WY) is organized as a REIT. Partnerships and other structures will create implications for taxation for individual investors.

Top Paying Dividend Stocks
Industries Dividend Champion Dividend Champion Ticker Market Capitalization ($ Billions) Yield % off Low
Printing R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company* RRD 1.8 10.2% 1.7%
Natural Gas Exterran Partners, L.P. EXLP 0.9 9.7% 13.1%
Tobacco Vector Group Ltd.* VGR 1.3 9.7% 3.9%
Communications Services France Telecom S.A.* FTE 33.7 12.9% 1.1%
Electric Utilities Atlantic Power Corporation AT 1.6 8.4% 9.1%
Major Drugs GlaxoSmithKline PLC GSK 111.5 5.2% 13.7%
Integrated Oil Statoil ASA STO 73.2 8.4% 13.9%
Water Transportation Navios Maritime Partners LP* NMM 0.5 15.2% 2.5%
Real Estate Operations Armour Residential*** ARR 1.0 17.8% 14.2%
Iron & Steel Ternium S.A. TX 3.7 12.2% 18.4%
Insurance Aviva plc* AV 12.0 9.9% 0.0%
Office Supplies Deluxe Corporation DLX 1.2 4.4% 26.0%
Retail (Technology) Best Buy Co., Inc.* BBY 6.2 3.6% 0.0%
Waste Management Services Veolia Environnement VE 6.1 6.6% 16.3%
Office Equipment Pitney Bowes Inc* PBI 2.6 11.6% 0.0%
Metals Southern Peru Copper Corporation SCCO 23.9 7.2% 18.6%
Fish & Livestock Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. CALM 0.9 2.3% 32.4%
Personal & Household Products Avon Products, Inc. AVP 7.3 5.4% 5.3%
Oil Production Enerplus Corporation* ERF 2.7 15.8% 0.0%
Forestry & Wood Products Weyerhaeuser Company WY 10.1 3.2% 23.0%
Security Services and Products Diebold, Incorporated DBD 2.2 3.2% 43.6%
Computer Peripherals Lexmark International, Inc.* LXK 1.9 3.8% 0.0%
Recreational Activities Cedar Fair, L.P. FUN 1.4 6.1% 51.7%
Publishing Gannett Co., Inc. GCI 3.1 6.2% 51.6%
Aerospace & Defense Lockheed Martin Corporation LMT 26.9 4.8% 23.8%
Retail (Grocery) SuperValu Inc.* SVU 1.0 7.5% 0.0%
Chemical Manufacturing Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. TNH 3.2 9.1% 48.5%
Non-alcoholic Beverages Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc DPS 8.5 3.4% 15.7%
Coal Mining Arch Coal, Inc.* ACI 1.5 6.1% 0.0%
Air Courriers United Parcel Service, Inc. UPS 71.0 3.1% 20.0%
Furniture & Fixtures Leggett & Platt, Incorporated LEG 2.8 5.6% 11.3%
Appliance & Tools ELECTROLUX ELUXY 5.6 4.4% 30.6%
Construction - Supplies & Fixtures 3M Company MMM 58.0 2.8% 17.7%
Containers & Packaging Sonoco Products Company SON 3.1 3.9% 11.9%
Construction - Raw Materials CRH PLC CRH 12.5 4.6% 21.0%
Investment Services Greenhill GHL 1.0 5.5% 20.2%
Consumer Financial Services General Electric Company GE 200.5 3.6% 29.0%
Retail (Department) J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Holding Company JCP 5.7 3.0% 10.4%
Retail (Furnishings) Home Depot, Inc. (The) HD 71.7 2.5% 65.0%
Railroads Norfolk Southern Corporation NSC 22.7 2.9% 8.9%
Recreational Products Hasbro, Inc. HAS 4.4 4.2% 8.2%
Insurance (Property) OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. OB 1.3 6.3% 8.6%
Semiconductors STMicroelectronics N.V.* STM 4.1 9.2% 0.0%
Gold and Silver Mining Gold Fields Ltd.* GFI 8.9 3.6% 4.0%
Restaurants Darden Restaurants, Inc. DRI 6.6 3.4% 23.1%
Food Manufacturing B&G Foods Holdings Corp. BGS 1.1 5.0% 36.4%
Oil Well Services & Equipment Teekay Offshore Partners L.P. TOO 1.9 7.7% 17.8%
Electronic Instruments & Control ABB Ltd* ABB 37.0 4.3% 0.0%
Personal Services H&R Block, Inc. HRB 4.3 5.5% 14.1%
Insurance (Miscellaneous) Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG 4.0 4.0% 38.1%
Miscellaneous Financial Services Sabine Royalty Trust* SBR 0.7 6.2% 0.0%
Paper and Pulp STORA ENSO CORP SEOAY 4.3 5.6% 10.4%
Biotechnology & Drugs PDL BioPharma, Inc. PDLI 0.9 9.7% 15.5%
Miscellaneous Transportation** Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacifico, S.A. de C.V. PAC 1.7 4.5% 7.7%
Advertising National CineMedia, Inc. NCMI 0.8 6.4% 19.5%
Alcoholic Beverages Molson Coors Brewing Company* TAP 6.3 3.2% 4.8%
Construction & Agricultural Equipment SKF INC SKFRY 8.9 2.9% 12.9%
Retail (Drug Stores) Walgreen Company* WAG 27.0 2.9% 1.9%
Water Utilities California Water Service Group Holding* CWT 0.7 3.6% 3.4%
Product Fabrication National Steel Corporation* SID 9.4 6.7% 0.0%
Agriculture Crops Cosan Limited CZZ 2.1 2.4% 29.7%
Broadcasting & Cable TV Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. SBGI 0.7 5.8% 20.4%
Business Services Compass Diversified Holdings CODI 0.6 11.8% 8.2%
Auto & Truck Parts Genuine Parts Company GPC 9.4 3.3% 28.7%
Insurance (Accident & Health) Aflac Incorporated AFL 18.3 3.4% 24.2%
Conglomerate Tyco International, Ltd. (Switzerland) TYC 24.1 1.9% 38.3%
Communications Equipment Comtech Telecommunications Corp. CMTL 0.6 3.8% 22.7%
Chemicals: Plastics & Rubber A. Schulman, Inc. SHLM 0.6 3.6% 29.3%
Retail (Apparel) Guess?, Inc.* GES 2.2 3.3% 0.2%
Campers & RV Vehicles Thor Industries, Inc. THO 1.6 2.0% 64.6%
Non-metallic mining Compass Minerals Intl Inc CMP 2.4 2.7% 11.5%
Auto & Truck Manufacturing Volvo VOLVY 21.9 3.5% 14.9%
Casino & Gaming Ameristar Casinos, Inc. ASCA 0.6 2.8% 21.6%
Health Equipment Meridian Bioscience Inc. VIVO 0.8 4.0% 29.2%
Hotels & Motels Intercontinental Hotels Group IHG 6.4 2.4% 43.0%
Software & Programming SAIC Inc* SAI 3.5 4.6% 0.0%
Footwear Nike, Inc. NKE 48.3 1.4% 34.2%
Fabricated: Plastics & Rubber Carlisle Companies Incorporated CSL 3.2 1.4% 68.3%
Rental & Leasing TAL International Group, Inc. TAL 1.2 6.4% 48.1%
Scientific Instruments Emerson Electric Company EMR 33.7 3.5% 12.9%
Motion Pictures Regal Entertainment Group RGC 2.1 6.2% 21.0%
Apparel True Religion Apparel, Inc. TRLG 0.7 2.9% 12.9%
Tires Cooper Tire & Rubber Company CTB 0.9 2.9% 46.6%
Schools Strayer Education, Inc. STRA 1.1 4.4% 30.1%
Trucking Knight Transportation, Inc. KNX 1.3 1.5% 26.0%
Construction Services M.D.C. Holdings, Inc. MDC 1.2 3.9% 66.0%
Retail (Specialty) Williams-Sonoma, Inc. WSM 3.5 2.5% 20.4%
Audio Video Equipment Sony Corp* SNE 13.8 1.1% 0.1%
Computer Storage Devices Seagate Technology. STX 12.1 3.7% 183.6%
Computer Networking Equipment Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. JKHY 2.8 1.4% 32.1%
Airlines Copa Holdings, S.A. CPA 3.7 2.0% 41.3%
Healthcare Facilities National HealthCare Corporation NHC 0.6 2.9% 39.7%
Computer Hardware Hewlett-Packard Company* HPQ 42.4 2.2% 0.0%
Textiles - non apparel Interface, Inc. IFSIA 0.8 0.6% 29.8%
Jewelry Fossil, Inc.* FOSL 4.3 0.0% 0.0%
Retail (Catalogue & Mail Order) HSN, Inc. HSNI 2.1 1.4% 28.9%
Photography RealD Inc RLD 0.6 0.0% 38.2%

Source: Data provided by Zacks.com services and downloaded on May 21, 2012. Classifications provided by EDGAR Online's I-Metrix Professional, XBRL-enabled application *Within 5% of 52-week low. **Top 3 dividend stocks pay irregular dividend amounts. GATX Corp. (NYSE:GMT) is ranked fourth with a 3.2% yield and regular quarterly dividends.***Dividend has been reduced twice recently

It should be noted that data reflects Zacks.com assessment of dividend yields, which is an annualized calculation (as opposed to a trailing twelve months) based upon the most recent dividend which causes distortion for some companies. Many companies pay irregular dividends that will distort the Zacks.com annualization approach. One example is Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. which has paid varying dividends each quarter. Its last four quarterly dividends were: $0.364, $0.325, $0.044, and $0.102 for a total of $0.835 which would give a dividend yield of 2.3%. Simply annualizing the most recent dividend of $0.364 would provide a substantially higher yield of 3.9%.

Other stocks have shown significant dividend increases, that appear more favorable with the Zacks.com approach than with a trailing 12 month dividend. One of these examples is B&G Foods Holdings Corp. which has raised its quarterly dividend from $0.17 to $0.27 per share in the past two years.

Conclusion
Chasing dividend yields can prove to be challenging and requires additional work than just looking for a high yield. Mathematically, yield is simply some accounting for the dividend divided by price. A yield might be climbing simply because the stock price is falling, not because the dividend is rising.

The above list also shows that many of the industry dividend leaders are very common stocks including The Home Depot, Inc. , Nike Inc. , and Hasbro, Inc. . HAS just increased its dividend 20% from the previous quarter. These companies represent well-known brands with strong market positions and consistent dividend track records.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and shall not be construed to constitute investment advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a solicitation, recommendation or endorsement to buy or sell any security.

Source: Top Paying Dividend Stocks By Industry