Believe it or not, they are companies today that are yielding double-digit dividend returns. Often, such yields are "too good to be true." Dividend yields are a function of stock price and typically, high yields are a temporary consequence of a company that is headed for trouble. Yet these high yielding securities look like solid bets from a risk/reward perspective.

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Too Good, But True
Annaly Capital Management
(NYSE:NLY) is a real estate investment trust principally engaged in the purchase and sale of mortgage backed securities (MBS). Yes, MBS were a root cause of the financial crisis, but quality MBS can be very attractive instruments to own. Annaly, thus far, has proven itself as one of the better investors in these securities. The shares trade for around $17 and yield and incredibly appealing 14.5%. To be sure, Annaly recently announced it would be selling 75 million shares of stock for $17.30. Issuing stock that yields 14.5% is not a cheap form of capital and shares dipped on the news. So far, the yield looks to remain the same.

American Capital Agency (Nasdaq:AGNC) is another REIT that invests in MBS. Trading for $29 a share, the current yield is 19.3%. (For more, see Great Dividend Yield Payouts.)

Energy Payouts
If you aren't comfortable with mortgage, consider energy related investment partnerships. Yields aren't high as those found with certain REITs, but that is because many investors view the cash flows from oil and gas to be safer than those from mortgage backed securities. Brietburn Energy Partners (Nasdaq:BBEP) is one such name. BBEP invests in mature, already producing oil and gas properties. Most of its future production is hedged at good prices, so fluctuation in energy prices doesn't affect cash flow as directly as a pure play E&P company. Shares in BBEP trade for $22 and yield 7.4%.

Linn Energy (Nasdaq:LINE) is another energy partnership with a solid hedge book and currently yields 6.8%. Investors should note that both BBEP and LINE trade near 52-week highs as investors have piled over the past year.

The Bottom Line
Not all dividend yields are equal. Yet today, there are several securities paying above average double-digit yields. In today's low interest rate environment, those yields could be well worth the risk assumed. (For more, see Top Dividend Plays For 2011.)

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