Investment Protection: These Dividend Stocks Yield Twice as Much as Treasuries

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Do you know what the ultimate investment protection is?

It's not gold, and it's certainly not Treasuries.

It's dividend stocks.

Companies that pay consistent dividends are in better fiscal shape than the U.S. government and the payouts significantly outpace those of Treasuries. The advantage over gold of course is that the yellow metal yields nothing – it's simply a store of value.

And yet dividend stocks also protect against inflation, since profits for the companies behind them tend to rise alongside prices.

To understand the advantages dividends can provide an investor during a down market, just look at the implosion of the dot-com bubble in 2000.

According to Morningstar research, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 9%, while dividend-oriented mutual funds – including high-yielding stocks in the financial-services, mutual-fund and real-estate sectors – gained anywhere from 10% to 30%.

And I shouldn't need to remind you that dividends account for the majority of the stock market's returns.

A study by Yale economist Robert Shiller showed that in the 109 years from 1889 to 1998, the average real return on common stocks was 7%, of which 4.7% was represented by dividends.

While stock prices have been plunging, dividend payments are rising. Through Aug. 31, 243 companies in the Standard and Poor's 500 Index increased or initiated a dividend payment. In fact, dividend payments are expected to end 2011 up 18% from 2010.

That's the case for dividend stocks. Now I'm going to give you some potent investment ideas to help you get on board.

Investing in Dividend Stocks

Generally speaking, there generally are two types of dividend stocks. There are large blue chips, which have a reliable but modest payout. And then there are the obscure companies, which have a higher yield but less safety.

In the first set you'll find companies likeThe Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) with a dividend yield of 3.4%, PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) (3.4%), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (3.6%) or, at the slightly riskier level, Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) with a yield of 6.2%.

All of these companies yield more than Treasuries. Plus, they have the added bonuses of being safer than sovereign debt and less vulnerable to inflation.

If inflation runs at even 10% for a few years, these companies' profits will rise more or less in tandem with prices. So will the value of their assets and businesses. If there's a big stock market crash, the price of these solid companies will decline – but even then, probably less than the market as a whole. And if the dollar crashes, you're MUCH safer in these companies than in Treasuries, because a large proportion of their profits come from outside the United States.

The second set of dividend stocks is where you'll find the riskier high flyers – smaller companies whose dividend yields are above 7% to 8%.

This second group has two advantages: First, the dividend yield itself is far above that available on bonds with any degree of safety. And second, if the companies themselves have solid operations, particularly if there is any kind of growth in earnings, a nice capital gain will accompany the juicy dividend.

Here's an example. My Permanent Wealth Investor service bought shares in B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS). B&G is in the business of buying tired food brands that are peripheral to big companies' operations (they own Cream of Wheat, for example) and rejuvenating them through active marketing and promotion.

At the time of our purchase, the stock was yielding 7.2%. B&G flourished over the next 18 months. The company's earnings were so robust that it increased the quarterly dividend by 23%. That success brought new investors, driving the stock price higher. Now it's trading at about double what we paid. The stock's yield has dropped as a result of the higher price but only for investors who are just getting in now. And a yield of about 5% is still well above the S&P 500.

Essentially B&G has moved from the second category of high yield stocks to the first; it is now priced as a company with solid operations, some growth and an attractive dividend yield. And even at its current valuation, it is by no means overpriced.

Take Aim at "Alpha Bulldogs' for Investment Protection

Companies like B&G are what I like to call "Alpha Bulldogs." These are companies whose dividend is solid, maintainable, and covered by earnings.

By no means are all high-dividend stocks Alpha Bulldogs. In the financial sector, there are a number of companies that are taking advantage of the Federal Reserve's irresponsible interest rate policy by borrowing short-term and investing in long-term mortgage bonds.

This will give them a very juicy return – until interest rates go up sharply, at which time their borrowing costs may exceed their investment yield and the capital value of their portfolio will collapse.

Outside the financial sector, a number of high dividend stocks pay out more than they earn, or have earnings with a strictly finite life. These companies are essentially cannibalizing capital to pay dividends – not an attractive investment.

We call these companies, which appear attractive but are in reality dangerous "Mangy Curs."

That said, I have one more recommendation for you – an Alpha Bulldog. But this one is only for Money Morning Private Briefing subscribers. It is currently trading at an attractive price and yields more than 9%. If you're not already signed up for Private Briefing, you can get access by clicking here.

Obviously, if you want all of my Alpha Bulldog recommendations you'll have to sign up for the Permanent Wealth Investor. You can do that by clicking here.

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Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. ivo paparela | September 13, 2011

    A study by Yale economist Robert Shiller showed that in the 109 years from 1889 to 1998, the average real return on common stocks was 7%, of which 4.7% was represented by dividends."
    But this average means little ….. because look at the change of the composition of the listed companies .

    How can one sell stock "A" to buy stock "B" if "A" represents a near bankrupt company ? In many cases today groth of stcks is artificial , no wealth creation but only wealth redistribution.
    If there is only stck rise without rise in benefits or capital increase ( augmentation de capital) it is like an legal Ponzi

  2. Marjorie Oberkirch | September 13, 2011

    Have signed up 2x for Monday Morning Private Briefing. Please advise.

  3. DAVID BENSON | September 18, 2011

    I was reading the briefing on Callon Petroleum. At the end it said "to continue reading, click Here. When clicked I was taken to Martins yak on silver, not Callon. What's up with that. Maybe you need to put your articles together better.

  4. BILL MCKINNEY | September 19, 2011

    I am not able to get Martin's second recommendation for dividend yield form his link on the article. Do I need to call you?

  5. DONNA SCHULZ | September 21, 2011

    How do you get the second Alpha bulldog????

  6. Timothy | January 15, 2012

    Seems to be a place to get information in general.

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