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What we're looking for

High-yielding Canadian-listed dividend stocks with a record of dependable returns.

In a world where sideways markets and sovereign debt downgrades no longer raise eyebrows, yield-hungry investors face a narrowing field of choices. Many have turned to dividend stocks to augment their returns.

Dividend stocks don't offer the same level of security as federal government bonds, which are backed by Ottawa. You can count on your semi-annual interest payments from a federal government bond, but with a dividend growth stock, you depend on the financial well-being of the company.

Luckily for us, there is no shortage of Canadian-listed securities that not only pay juicy dividends, but pay them year in and year out.

More on today's screen

This Bloomberg screen looks for stocks traded on Canadian exchanges that pay a current dividend yield of greater than 4 per cent, and have paid dividends over the past five years, every single year.

What we found

The stocks provided by this screen lean toward energy and utilities, sprinkled with a few consumer retail and health care companies. Only two stocks pay a double-digit dividend, while the majority live in the 4- to 6-per-cent range.

A word of caution when it comes to searching for dividend stocks. The danger in choosing stocks based solely on the dividend is that ultrahigh yields may signal that the dividend is at risk of being cut. By screening for consistency, as this we have done here, this risk is reduced, but not eliminated.

Globe Investor Gold columnist Gordon Pape offers the following advice on investing in dividend stocks:

  • Yield is not the whole story. Growth potential needs to be considered as well.
  • It pays to look outside the traditional dividend stock hunting grounds.
  • Don’t overlook small caps.

Lastly, stocks with a history of dividend increases should be considered even if the current yield is low.