Investing in stocks that provide a stable, high dividend can secure your financial future with steady cash flow. The Berkshire portfolio is the perfect place for individual investors to research high-yield dividend stocks for potential investments. Here are the top nine.
With a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 3.72%, ConocoPhillips sits comfortably at the top of the Berkshire dividend stocks list. Though Buffett's team has been steadily reducing its position in ConocoPhillips, the company is one of the best dividend payers in the energy sector -- with its closest dividend competitor, Chevron, falling short with a (still impressive) 3.22% yield. Though ConocoPhillip's share price is near a five-year high, the dividend payout remains strong enough to provide Berkshire (and other investors) with it's top payout.
2. Kraft Foods
Coming in just below ConocoPhillips, Kraft Foods is no slouch with a 3.69% yield. Though Kraft represents one of Berkshire Hathaway's smaller holdings, the food and beverage producer outpaces many of the other companies within its industry.
Though Kraft Foods has a short history of dividend payments, it began distributing one to shareholders shortly after its IPO in October 2012, with an increase from the initial $0.50 dividend to $0.525 just three quarters later.
The French pharmaceutical company currently dominates the estimated $1 billion market for chronic kidney disease treatments, though a new generic drug has been recently approved for market.
Nevertheless, Buffett and his team hold 3.9 million shares in the pharma firm, which provides investors with a 3.65% dividend yield. Though there are some competitors within the pharmaceutical industry that pay higher yields, Sanofi still presents a fine option for investors looking for solid payouts, year in and year out.
4. General Motors
With its newly reinstated dividend, General Motors is back in the fold with a solid 3.53% trailing 12-month yield. Berkshire Hathaway increased its position in GM by 15 million shares in late 2013, with the current position holding at 40 million shares.
Investors interested in the auto industry may be a bit weary of the Detroit carmaker due to the recent recall debacle, but keep in mind that the manufacturer has made huge strides in its recovery from near collapse, and provides the biggest yield for investors in American auto stocks.
5. General Electric
The conglomerate enjoyed a boost in its shares held by Berkshire Hathaway at the end of 2013, ending at the 10.58 million-share mark. With a dividend yield of 3.31%, Buffett and his team have bolstered Berkshire's dividend income by buying up more GE shares. Though the current $0.22 per-share dividend still falls short of the pre-recession payouts of $0.31 from GE, investors can be sure that the steady increases since 2009 will likely continue as GE aims to shrink parts of GE Capital -- the unit that burned the company during the recession.
6. Procter & Gamble
With a 3.16% yield, Procter & Gamble continues to provide investors with a steady cash flow. Berkshire Hathaway maintains a nearly 53 million share position in the personal products company, though the holding was significantly reduced in 2012 from 96.3 million shares.
Procter & Gamble is among the exclusive group of S&P 500 stocks known as dividend aristocrats -- meaning that the company has increased its dividend payments for the past 25 years.
The beverage giant falls just below the 3% mark, with a 2.99% trailing 12-month yield. One of Berkshire's largest positions, the beverage giant's 400 million shares are airtight in Omaha. Like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola is a dividend aristocrat, with its increases starting all the way back in 1963. Though it may be closer to the bottom of this list of Buffett-approved dividend stocks, investors can be assured that the steady cash flow from Coca-Cola is beyond solid -- with 50+ years of proof.
8. United Parcel Service
Loving logistics can mean a healthy dividend cash flow. For investors in UPS, the going rate is a 2.71% dividend yield. Though this is one of the smallest holdings in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, the healthy dividend is intriguing for the dividend-oriented investor. With consistent increases in its payouts, UPS has provided shareholders with a 2%+ yield since late 2006.
9. Johnson & Johnson
The second health-care/pharmaceutical company and third dividend aristocrat on the list has a dividend yield of 2.64%. Johnson & Johnson may represent only a small portion of Buffett's overall portfolio, but for those investors interested in blue chip dividend payers, it's a major contender.
With 70% of its sales coming from products that are either No. 1 or No. 2 in terms of global market share, it would be hard to dismiss J&J when considering new dividend investment options.
Bonus round: GlaxoSmithKline
Though Berkshire Hathaway completely divested its investment in the British pharmaceutical company as of year-end 2013, investors may still be interested in its 5.64% dividend yield. Despite news of a three-way deal boosting its share price, investors may still be enticed by the company's impressive payout history.
Though following the stocks that professional investors buy can be a great jumping off point for your own investing, be sure to do you homework before sending off buy orders. All of the companies listed above provide great yields for dividend investors, but may not fit your personal risk profile or investing thesis. For more coverage of the companies mentioned and future Buffett moves, keep visiting Fool.com!
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The previous articles in our "12 Days of Berkshire" series:
12 Reasons Warren Buffett Is an Incredible Investor and How You Can Learn From Him