10 High-Quality Stocks With Dividend Yields of 4% or More

There's no shortage of stocks with dividends these days, but not all of them are worth chasing. Here's a list of top-rated, high-yielding names to consider.

Stacks of $1 and $5 bills
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It's hard to criticize markets for setting records seemingly every other day, but all-time highs do pose something of a challenge for yield-hungry income investors: High-quality stocks with dividends that offer ample yields are in increasingly short supply.

As dividend (and bond) investors know all too well, prices and yields move in opposite directions. With the S&P 500 gaining 37% over the past 52 weeks – not to mention two consecutive quarters of negative dividend growth – the yield on the benchmark index is plumbing depths not seen for two decades.

Indeed, the yield on the S&P 500 sits at just 1.34%, according to data from Quandl (opens in new tab), down from 1.91% a year ago. To put today's levels in historical perspective, the market's dividend yield hasn't touched such lows since 2001.

For the record, the dividend yield on the S&P 500 hit an all-time bottom of 1.11% in the third quarter of 2000.

Although income investors should be wary of "chasing yield" in any market environment, that admonishment goes double today. After all, it's an especially tempting risk to take when yields are from hunger.

True, there's no shortage of stocks with dividends offering high-single-digit percent and even double-digit percent yields, but a too-high yield can sometimes be a sign that the underlying company is in trouble. As such, it's imperative that investors keep a keen eye on the stability and reliability of their dividend-paying stocks – not just the generosity of their payouts.

To that end, we scoured the market for analysts' favorite high-quality stocks with dividends yielding at least 4%. We limited ourselves to stocks with strong fundamentals, stable cash flows and reassuring payout records, among other factors.

With the exception of one stock on our list, all of our names are members of the S&P 500. Most importantly, each and every one has a consensus Buy recommendation from Wall Street analysts.

A note on how the recommendation system works: S&P Global Market Intelligence surveys analysts' stock calls and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals a Strong Buy and 5.0 is a Strong Sell. Any score equal to or less than 2.5 means that analysts, on average, rate the stock as being Buy-worthy. The closer a score gets to 1.0, the higher conviction the Buy recommendation.

After sifting through scores of names, these high-quality dividend stocks stood out for their generous payouts, solid fundamentals and analysts' recommendations. Read on to learn more about 10 attractive stocks with dividends yielding at least 4%.

Stock prices, analysts' recommendations and other data as of July 9, courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence, unless otherwise noted. Stocks are listed by strength of analysts' Buy calls, from lowest to highest.

Dan Burrows
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com