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Struggling to figure out how to build a portfolio of quality dividend growth stocks?

TULF it out. That’s a mnemonic from dividend investing guru Tom Connolly, not a wisecrack. T stands for telecoms, U for utilities, L for low-yielding dividend stocks with growth potential and F for financials.

There are 68 dividend-paying stocks in the S&P/TSX Dividends Aristocrats Index and many more in the broader S&P/TSX composite index. Mr. Connolly, publisher of The Connolly Report, says investors seeking dividend growth should start narrowing their choices down by avoiding high-yielding dividend stocks. There’s no set definition of a high yield, but let’s say anything in the 6 per cent range or higher. Next, remove energy and mining stocks from your list. “Generally, you don’t buy cyclical stocks if you’re a dividend investor,” Mr. Connolly said.

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