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10 Dividend Stocks to Keep You Safe Into 2012

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Companies that pay among the highest dividends and post the fastest earnings growth are the best place to hunker down.

Before selling equities and going to cash or Treasury bonds, consider staying in the market but remaining risk-averse with relatively safe dividend stocks. Still, that might be easier said than done, given the S&P 500's 5.6% decline in the past five trading days.

But that's a strategy touted by many investment strategists, including Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Parker. "The right strategy to outperform in this environment is to focus on companies with sustainable dividends," which he refers to as "the 'best house on a bad block' logic."

With the 10-year Treasury yield around 2% yield, companies that can increase earnings per share over the next decade and pay consistently higher dividends are "likely prudent investments," he says.

Dividends have provided 42% of the S&P 500's total return over the past century, "so you do not want to ignore them," Parker says. Instead of picking stable blue-chip companies such as 3M or Procter & Gamble, Morgan Stanley recommends fast-growing companies.

"The market has been rewarding companies that are beating on revenue more than those beating on earnings, and we think the scarcity premium on revenue growth will increase in a low-growth economy," he said in the report the report.

With that view in mind, what follows are 10 stocks with better than 3% dividend yields that rank among the best in terms of three- to five-year earnings per share growth prospects (per Standard & Poor's), and have attractive current price-to-earnings ratios, culled from a screen on Fidelity's Web site.

Seagate Technology (STX), a maker of computer hard drives, has shares that carry a 4.46% projected dividend yield, and the company has a long-term projected earnings growth rate of 18.4%. It has a market value of $7 billion and its shares are on fire, rising 62% in the past three months and up 11% this year.

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