Dividend investing is popular again. Investors have taken to heart Jeremy Siegel's studies showing that higher-yielding stocks tend to offer greater returns over time than low- or no-yield stocksdo.

One particular area that has garnered interest over the years is master limited partnerships. Investors are drawn to MLPs for their high yields and tax deferment. MLPs don't pay taxes at the corporate level, so the tax burden then gets passed to the investor. Without getting into too much detail, because of the structure of the partnerships and the distributions, investors are entitled to a serious tax deferral. Investors should fully understand what they are in for before buying MLPs, but for those willing to do the research, it can be very profitable.

The highest yields can be very tantalizing. As long as a stock yielding 15% doesn't see its share price fall, you'll make 15% in one year! In more cases than not, however, an astronomical yield is a bad sign for a stock. Since 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.

However, certain types of companies, such as MLPs, have to pay out most of their cash flow as distributions, so their yields will be higher than "normal." 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.

I ran a screen for the highest-yielding MLPs. The only limitation I've set is that the MLPs must have a market cap greater than $1 billion.

Here are the top 25 highest-yielding MLPs the screen produced.


Company Name

Market Cap (Millions)


1 Inergy (NYSE: NRGY) $2,863 11.7%
2 Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSE: CQP) $2,724 10.6%
3 Calumet Specialty Products Partners (Nasdaq: CLMT) $1,011 10.2%
4 CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN) $1,699 9.7%
5 Breitburn Energy Partners (Nasdaq: BBEP) $1,069 9.7%
6 Ferrellgas Partners (NYSE: FGP) $1,744 8.7%
7 Penn Virginia Resource Partners (NYSE: PVR) $1,919 8.2%
8 Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE: ETP) $9,903 8%
9 PAA Natural Gas Storage (NYSE: PNG) $1,254 8%
10 Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE: BWP) $5,404 8%
11 Legacy Reserves (Nasdaq: LGCY) $1,274 8%
12 Natural Resource Partners (NYSE: NRP) $2,968 7.9%
13 NuStar Energy (NYSE: NS) $3,605 7.9%
14 Terra Nitrogen (NYSE: TNH) $2,898 7.9%
15 Linn Energy (Nasdaq: LINE) $6,661 7.4%
16 Eagle Rock Energy Partners (Nasdaq: EROC) $1,408 7.4%
17 Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE: SPH) $1,669 7.2%
18 Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE: EEP) $8,399 7%
19 Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) $8,390 6.9%
20 Copano Energy (Nasdaq: CPNO) $2,224 6.8%
21 AmeriGas Partners (NYSE: APU) $2,518 6.7%
22 NuStar GP Holdings (NYSE: NSH) $1,263 6.6%
23 Pioneer Southwest Energy Partners (NYSE: PSE) $1,031 6.6%
24 Holly Energy Partners (NYSE: HEP) $1,458 6.5%
25 TC Pipelines (Nasdaq: TCLP) $2,567 6.4%

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, National Association of Publicly Traded Partnerships. As of Dec. 5.

These MLPs 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 yields are.

For a basket of high-yield dividend opportunities, get The Motley Fool's five-page free report "13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today."

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.