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7 Dividend Stocks You Can't Ignore Right Now

Stocks in this article: JNJ PEP SPG CAH HUM NU IVZ

PepsiCo

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Another major firm that hiked its dividend payouts in the past week is snack and beverage giant PepsiCo (PEP). Pepsi's management announced a 4.37% increase to its payout on Wednesday, ratcheting its quarterly payout to 54 cents per share. That's a 3.2% dividend yield at PEP's current price levels.

This isn't the first time I've written about Pepsi this week -- I highlighted the stock on Wednesday as one of five stocks hedge funds hate right now. There's no two ways about it: The hedgies are dead wrong about PepsiCo right now.

PepsiCo is the largest snack food company and the second-largest beverage company in the world, with brands ranging from namesake Pepsi to Lay's, Dorito's and Gatorade lining its product portfolio. That positioning makes Pepsi a critical part of consumers' grocery store shopping carts -- generating massive sales in the process.

While around half of sales currently come from the U.S. right now, Pepsi still has significant opportunities for growth in emerging market countries where burgeoning middle classes are ramping up demand for soda and snack foods. Coupled with new healthy offerings, Pepsi should be able to grow its top-line at a faster clip than most other blue chips can.

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