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Savvy investors like multibillion-dollar-fund manager Ken Fisher know that dividends are a great way to obtain healthy doses of income. In today's low-interest-rate environment, these stocks are critically important for income investors. Here are three of Fisher's top dividend stocks.
Chevron (NYSE: CVX )
Chevron posted record profit in the fourth quarter of 2012. But since then, profit has sagged due to lower margins from its refineries. But Chevron boasts a healthy financial position, evidenced by nearly $21 billion in balance-sheet cash versus $12 billion in long-term debt. Chevron plans to boost its oil and gas production by more than 20% from 2010 levels by 2017, primarily by increasing liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) plants, developing deepwater oil fields, and boosting shale production . Promising new LNG projects in Australia and the Gulf of Mexico will likely fuel Chevron's future growth. The company pays a 3.4% dividend yield.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD )
McDonald's has recently undergone a refresh by placing renewed emphasis on brand imaging, launching premium products, offering healthier menu options, and remodeling restaurants. But none of those efforts helped the company sidestep declining same-store sales. McDonald's posted negative same-store sales in late 2012, its first negative figure reported in nearly a decade. Since that time, the fast-food king has suffered more sales declines. Slowing global economic growth has partly been to blame, as approximately 70% of company revenue is derived internationally. But don't count the fast-food giant out. McDonald's is a master of innovation and experimentation. The Golden Arches, which has raised its dividend every year since paying its first one in 1976, pays a 3.4% dividend yield.
General Electric (NYSE: GE )
General Electric is in the process of revamping operations, most recently by trimming GE Capital, its financial-services business. The company recently announced it would spin off the consumer lending business within GE Capital. But GE's transition back toward its industrial roots will take time. General Electric's industrial business will likely benefit from emerging-market growth over the long term, even given the company's recent challenges in key markets like wind and solar. The conglomerate, which recently announced a 16% increase in its dividend, currently pays shareholders a 3.3% dividend yield.
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