Large Cap Dividend Stocks For 2011

By Greg Sushinsky | December 17, 2010 AAA

Investors can put together a package of dividend yielding stocks which fit their individual investing styles. For 2011, we've selected a sampler of some potent large-cap stocks which pay attractive dividends. Here are the selections and our reasons for choosing them.

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About our Approach
We've selected a batch of stocks which have historically strong businesses and have been steady dividend payers. There are degrees of risk even in something as relatively low-risk as income stocks. The group we've selected are not necessarily the highest yielders, as those stocks often carry higher risk. Large, stable and yes, probably dull (as in unlikely to have a dividend crippling business event) is the theme for the selection of these stocks. (For more, watch our video What Is A Dividend?)

Calling iPhone Users
Verizon Communications
(NYSE:VZ), which currently yields 5.7%, is one of the twin mega-telecoms along with AT&T (NYSE:T) and is often purchased for its yield by investors. Verizon is expected to offer iPhones next year. Estimates are that it may land as many as 10 million activations when Verizon Wireless begins selling the iPhone. This will be a healthy addition to Verizon's revenue stream. Why choose Verizon's dividend over AT&T? It's a bit more of a dynamic company.

Is Big Pharma a Bad Investment?
Our next candidate is drugmaker Merck (NYSE:MRK). It's true that some big pharma stocks have performed poorly in the last decade, the stronger companies are positioned to do better. Merck's underlying business has healthy margins and cash flow generation. The stock currently yields 4.21% and sells at a forward PE of 9.65. Even if you scale back the revenue and earnings projections the stock looks cheap.

Recovery in the Oil Patch
After the tragic BP (NYSE:BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April, Conoco Phillips (NYSE:COP) and other integrated oil company stocks such as Chevron (NYSE:CVX) tailed off. Conoco Phillips yields 3.36% and sells for less than nine times earnings. Is Chevron worthy, too? Yes, but for diversification, we're choosing just one oil stock in the group. It's a close call, but Conoco Phillips' stock is slightly cheaper. (For more, see Why Dividends Matter.)

Going Global with Consumer Products
There are some worthwhile U.S.-based consumer products businesses such as Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL), but we're going to choose U.K.-based Unilever Plc (NYSE:UL) with its 3.65% yield instead. Unilever has a wide mix of businesses, and the stock got a recent enthusiastic analyst upgrade. The stock is a bit pricey now, but it is projected to continue its earnings rebound.

Simply a Great Company
The final selection in our dividend group is Coca Cola (NYSE:KO). While the current yield is only 2.71, investors will still get a share in a company which continues to grow its earnings despite economic headwinds. The underlying growth and value of the company makes its dividend as solid and stable as any. (For more, see The Power Of Dividend Growth.)

The Bottom Line
The package of five dividend paying stocks we've selected for 2011 features strong, stable companies which will pay investors while they wait for the stocks to appreciate in value. We've picked a combination of stocks that pay attractive yields along with offering underlying fundamental business strength. Payments from these strong performing companies can add up greatly over time. (For more, see How Dividends Work For Investors.)

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