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5 Stocks Showing Robust Dividend Yields

Ever since the Great Recession of 2008 took root, the U.S. Government has done all in its power to boost the economy by keeping interest rates at historical lows. That's been a real help for borrowers as mortgages, corporate bonds and other forms of debt can be issued with low interest expenses. But it's been a nightmare for savers as they try to find high-quality investments that offer payouts robust enough to live on.

>>5 Stocks Warren Buffett Loves

Yet if you know where to look, you can find impressive income opportunities across the investing spectrum. A wide number of Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), for example, can deliver 6% or 7% dividend yields. Here are five companies -- outside of those two categories -- that sport dividend yields in excess of 5%. They are of fairly high quality, as Standard & Poors has selected them to be members of the S&P 500, S&P 400 (a mid-cap index) or the S&P 600 (a small-cap index).

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Here are five impressive yielders 5 Rock Solid Yield Plays that can help your portfolio to produce higher income streams.

Reynolds American

Big Tobacco no longer holds sway over the American public. Fewer of us smoke or chew tobacco, but for those that still do, it remains an expensive habit--and quite profitable for the major tobacco producers. Reynolds American (RAI), which owns five of the top 10 selling brands in the U.S. (including Camel and Pall Mall) is a poster child for the industry's still-robust financial picture.

Like many other firms, Reynolds is squeezing out costs to expand margins, even as top-line growth remains anemic. That has helped boost Return on Equity (ROE) from 23.6% in 2010 to 26.3% in 2011, on its way to around 30% this year. The rising ROE has helped RAI to generate at least $2 billion in operating cash flow in four of the past five years, and that's led to steady dividend increases.

Reynolds American's dividend rose 17% in 2011 to $2.15 a share, and it's up another 10% this year to $2.36 a share. That works out to be a 5.5% yield, which is among the highest among the tobacco producers.

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