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9 Great Dividend-Paying Stocks for 2016

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After a bull-market run of nearly seven years, picking winning stocks in 2016 may be about choosing reliability over flash. That could mean that dividend-paying stocks of established companies will be the market's leaders.

To find some great dividend-stock ideas, we first looked for companies whose businesses seemed poised for decent sales and earnings growth, even in a still-challenging U.S. economy.

Next, we looked for dedication to rising dividend payments. Though many companies pledge periodic stock buybacks as a way to return capital to investors, dividend payments are commitments—and increasing that commitment says a lot about executives' confidence.

Finally, we sought stocks that appeared ready to deliver a good total return—meaning share-price appreciation plus dividend income. Investors who seek high yield alone often sacrifice share-price growth and dividend growth over time.

Stocks are listed alphabetically. Prices and related data are as of December 18. Unless otherwise indicated, price-earnings ratios are based on estimated 2016 earnings.

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