Dividend investing is popular again. Investors have taken to heart Jeremy Siegel's studies, which show that higher-yielding stocks tend to offer greater returns over time than low- or no-yield stocks.
The highest dividend yields can be very tantalizing. As long as a stock yielding 15% doesn't lose value, you'll make 15% in one year! In more cases than not, however, an astronomical yield is a bad sign for a stock. Since dividend yields and stock prices move in opposite directions, a high yield usually means that investors have begun to worry about the business and driven down its stock price.
Dividends are not guaranteed; you need to make sure that a business is generating enough cash to pay its dividend, or your investment could be disastrous.
A few months ago, I ran a screen for the highest-yielding telecom stocks, and it got such a good reception that I'm doing it again this quarter. The only limitations I set are I'm only considering telecoms and they must have a market cap greater than $300 million.
Here are the top 25 highest-yielding telecoms the screen produced:
Market Cap (in millions)
Frontier Communications (NYS: FTR)
Cellcom Israel (NYS: CEL)
Telefonica (NYS: TEF)
Telecom Corp. of New Zealand Ltd. (NYS: NZT)
CenturyLink (NYS: CTL)
Brasil Telecom S.A.
Telecom Italia SpA
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
Mobile Telesystems OJSC
Telefonos de Mexico, S.A.B. de C.V.
Source: S&P Capital IQ.
These stocks are a good place to start your research, but they're not formal recommendations. Remember, their seemingly irresistible yields could be ticking time bombs, so do your own due diligence. Also, make sure you diversify your picks across various sectors. As investors relearn every decade or so, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket -- no matter how tempting the dividends are.
At the time thisarticle was published Dan Dzombak owns shares of Frontier Communications and France Telecom, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Telefonica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of France Telecom and Cellcom Israel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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