3 Dow Stocks to Buy Today

A recent study by The Wall Street Journal revealed that big U.S. companies have "emerged from the deepest recession since World War II more productive, more profitable, flush with cash, and less burdened by debt." This is good news for investors. With all of the uncertainty in global markets right now, large, dividend-paying companies may be very attractive investments.

A great place to look for this type of investment is among the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) . The index consists of leading American businesses that pay out an average dividend yield of 2.9%. My colleague David Meier and I have been looking at each of the components of the Dow recently, and we identified quite a few of them that should outperform the market over the next five years or so. Let's take a look at three in particular.

1. Home Depot (NYS: HD)
Home Depot is a compelling bet on the long-term recovery of the U.S. housing market. Over the next five years, I'm confident that the new and used home markets will be stronger, and that Home Depot will perform well over that time period as a result.

The market appears to feel that way as well. Both Home Depot and competitor Lowe's (NYS: LOW) have seen their share prices rise considerably over the past year. In fact, Home Depot has beaten the market by 11% since we first made our outperform call on it back in January. We continue to like its long-term prospects as consumers spend more on new and existing homes. Its dividend yield of 2.3% is another attractive feature.

2. Procter & Gamble (NYS: PG)
Procter & Gamble seems like a no-brainer to outperform the market over the next five years. It's a dominant global force, with 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

With its dividend yield of more than 3% and dividend growth averaging 9.5% over the past 55 years, this company is a lock to provide investors with steady income going forward. The company is beating the market by just 2% since our outperform call in February 2012, but we're very excited about the future for this Dow stalwart.

3. McDonald's (NYS: MCD)
McDonald's is an outstanding company that's been firing on all cylinders lately. Despite underperforming the market by 4.5% since we first made our outperform call back in February, it's been the best-performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past one- and five-year periods ending in 2011. And last year, it delivered a total return of 35% for investors.

The long-term prospects are equally bright. This is a company with a terrific business model and tremendous international growth opportunities. In China alone, the company plans to open between 225 and 250 restaurants in 2012. When you add McDonald's solid dividend yield of 2.9% to its very attractive capital appreciation possibilities, then you have a very compelling investment idea for the long term.

Great businesses, great yields
With 10-year U..S Treasuries paying yields of around 2%, it makes sense to consider investing in great businesses that produce more attractive dividend yields. These three companies are excellent ideas to consider, but if you'd like to learn about some additional dividend payers, have a look at our free report titled "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." It's always a good time to think about adding stability to your portfolio. Grab a copy of the free report now.

At the time thisarticle was published John Reeves owns shares of Procter & Gamble. You can follow his real-money portfolio on Twitter, where it's listed as@10-Bagger Stocks.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Home Depot and writing covered calls on Lowe's. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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