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2 Dividend Stocks to Buy, 1 to Avoid

Stocks in this article: TGT WMT FTR

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It makes sense for most long-term investors to put at least some of their loot into speculative positions. I invest anywhere from 10% to 20% of my portfolio in ultraspeculative stocks such as Pandora (P) and Wendy's (WEN) and growth plays that don't pay dividends, such as Madison Square Garden (MSG).

The core of my portfolio, however, sits firmly in growth companies paying generally stable and increasing dividends.

In this article, I discuss two dividend stocks to consider buying and one to avoid.

Target (TGT - Get Report) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT - Get Report)

Make no mistake about it: I am bearish on roughly 95% of brick-and-mortar retailers. Unless it's an Apple (AAPL) store or something sharp, snazzy and exclusive like Lululemon (LULU), I want no part of it.

Exceptions, however, do exist.

Although I do not own either yet, I have put Target and Wal-Mart on my radar.

The good news at Wal-Mart? Growth appears to have returned. I want to see how this past quarter worked out. (The company reports May 17.) But it seems like a reversal is underway, driven by Sam's Club revenue. Sales are up year over year across the board.

A need will always exist for Wal-mart and Sam's Club, particularly in rural and suburban areas and among older people who are not prepared to allow (AMZN) to take over all aspects of their lives. If you do not know what a tablet is -- beyond your blood pressure medication -- chances are you will not order toilet paper on a Kindle Fire anytime soon.

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