5 Dividend Stocks to Buy in July

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Nothing's better than cold, hard cash. Dividends are one way investors can boost the amount of physical cash they have rolling in the door every month or quarter.

With that in mind, we asked five Fools to reveal the one dividend stock they believe is a good buy for investors right now.

Jim RoyalNorthStar Realty Finance (NYSE: NRF  ) just spun off its asset management arm, and is now run externally. The move obscures a huge dividend at this well-diversified commercial REIT.

Look at just the public finance sites and you're already behind the game. You have dig into the filings to see the near 9% yield that NorthStar is offering. Management is projecting $1.58-$1.70 in funds from operations (FFO) this year, and if the REIT pays out the 90% that it did in the first quarter -- or about $1.50 per share annually -- then investors are looking at a forward yield of 9%.

Currently at a price/FFO of around 10 times, the market is pricing almost no growth into this dividend payer, belying its history as a solid performer. Over the next year, I think investors could see a 50% total return with low downside.

Eric Volkman: If you had to choose two words to put together to get an investor excited, "data center," would likely not be the selection. But data centers are a vital and ever-growing feature of the IT landscape, and there's no better company to take advantage of their potential than REIT Digital Realty Trust  (NYSE: DLR  ) .

The firm holds 131 properties in the U.S. and abroad, which collectively offer virtually any service a tenant might need. Digital Realty Trust just keeps growing, with funds from operations coming in at $1.22 per share in its most recent quarter, up from $1.16 the preceding quarter, and $1.10 in the quarter prior to that.  The dividend yield is sweet, at 5.7%, but might not stay that high for long -- the company is making a gradual recovery from a share price dive at the end of last year.

Matthew Frankel: My top dividend stock for July is Realty Income  (NYSE: O  ) .

The company has a large and diverse portfolio of properties, with more than 200 tenants representing 47 different industries. Not only is Realty Income's dividend impressive at nearly 5%, but there is also the convenience of monthly payments, which is great for long-term compounding as well as for those who need current income. The dividend has also been increased for 67 consecutive quarters, including the worst recession in recent history.

In addition to the growing dividend, shareholders also benefit from rising property values, which lets Realty Income collect more rent from its tenants. In fact, since going public in 1994, Realty Income has averaged a remarkable 16.7% annual total return, consistently beating the S&P 500. Without a doubt, this is the best way to get consistent, rising income from real estate in your portfolio.

Wayne DugganEssex Property Trust (NYSE: ESS  ) is the dividend stock I would be buying.

After a $16 billion merger with BRE Properties earlier this year, this apartment real estate investment trust is up over 30% year to date and still yields nearly 3%. In fact, Essex recently continued its history of dividend boosts by raising its quarterly dividend by 7.4%.

About 88% of Essex's rental properties are located in California, and with the median home sales price in California now well over $400,000 (compared to the national average of $172,000), the booming West Coast housing market is giving many residents no choice other than rentals. In addition to increasing demand for rentals, the merger with BRE has provided Essex with an opportunity for higher operating margins and lower borrowing costs moving forward. It appears that Essex has found the recipe for success in the long-term.

John Maxfield: If you're looking for a dependable dividend stock, and particularly one in the financial space, you can't do much better than New York Community Bancorp  (NYSE: NYCB  ) .

Not only does it yield 6.4%, but it also has an unparalleled history of distributing the majority of its income to shareholders. Indeed, even when most of its peers were forced to slash their quarterly payouts in the midst of the financial crisis, New York Community Bancorp never flinched. It went so far as to refuse TARP money in order to protect its shareholders from dilution and ensure that its dividend would continue unabated.

This is a tried and true bank. And it's one dividend investors have justifiably come to know and love.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. That's beyond dispute. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, the Fool's top dividend mind, James Early, put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor's portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.


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