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Best Dividend Picks for 2009, 3Q Update

 October 01, 2009 11:18 AM

Back at the end of 2008, I was invited to participate in a stock picking competition by selecting 4 stocks. At the time I simply included the highest yielding stocks in my portfolio – Con Edison (ED), Realty Income (O), Phillip Morris International (PM) and Kinder Morgan (KMP). I believe that as a whole, these stocks would provide dependable income for individuals seeking high current income today. These stocks also possess strong dividend growth characteristics as well, which is essential for investors to keep up with inflation if they spend all of their distributions in a given year.

You could find the reasons for my stock selections below:

Realty Income Corporation (O) engages in the acquisition and ownership of commercial retail real estate properties in the United States. The company is widely held among dividend investors, and is known as the "Monthly Dividend Company". Since Realty Income went public in 1994 it has raised dividends consistently, often more than three times per year. Some investors are concerned that Realty Income has a high dividend payout ratio, which stops them from purchasing its shares. The truth is that real-estate investment trusts have to distribute all of their earnings to shareholders in order to avoid being taxed by the IRS. Thus, a more useful gauge for Realty Income's dividend coverage is its Funds from Operations, which includes earnings per share and certain non cash items such as depreciation expense for example.
This dividend achiever currently yields 6.5%, and is up 18.8% year to date.

Consolidated Edison, Inc., (ED) through its subsidiaries, provides electric, gas, and steam utility services in the United States. People still keep using electricity at the same rate even during recessions, as do businesses as well. This being said, Con Edison's revenues so far this year have been lower, in comparison to their levels from last year due to the overall weakness in New York's economy as a whole. The company also recently managed to receive a lower than anticipated increase in its rates to customers.

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