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Rising Dividend Stocks That Don't Care About the Fiscal Cliff

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I am reading nonstop negative news about the fiscal cliff and the possibility the European economy will fall off the map.

You most likely are reading the same, and perhaps you're wondering whether any stocks are moving higher. After all, even one of my favorite stocks, Apple (AAPL), is under pressure as a result of a selling feedback loop.

A selling feedback loop occurs when investors who would otherwise prefer to continue holding a stock find themselves forced to sell because of margin calls (self-imposed or otherwise) and stop-losses. Initial selling may be caused by an internal or external force. Once started, more selling begets more selling, and round and round the loop spirals lower.

In Apple's case, the most likely catalyst for the initial selling was the expectation that taxes on capital gains would rise. The selling has driven Apple shares to less than $600, which is a gift by most metrics.

Nevertheless, there are other stocks that are climbing and that pay big dividends. I'm talking steady quarterly dividends, not just the one-time special dividends.

In today's crazy "fiscal cliff is here, is not here" market, it's not so easy to separate the winners from the losers, but here are a few bullish high-yield companies for your review. CAG Dividend Yield Chart CAG Dividend Yield data by YCharts

Conagra Foods (CAG)

Background: ConAgra Foods operates as a food company primarily in North America. The company operates through two segments, Consumer Foods and Commercial Foods.

52-Week Range: $23.64 to $29.97

Book Value: $11.22

Price-to-Book Ratio: 2.6

Earnings Payout Percentage: 63%

TheStreet's Jim Cramer writes about Conagra Foods ConAgra-Ralcorp Deal Speaks Volumes in this article.

Shareholders receive $1 annually in dividend payments. The yield is 3.4%, based on the recent high.

Shares have moved higher in the last month, with most of the gains taking place within the last couple of weeks. In the last week of November, Conagra gapped higher again for the second time since mid-September.

Analyst opinion is mixed. As I write this, Conagra Foods has seven buy and eight hold recommendations. No analysts rate it a sell, but the hold ratings may have missed a good opportunity. In the last 12 months, the shares have really moved higher. The one-year return is 16%, and the average analyst target price for Conagra Foods is $33.60. After adding in dividends, investor return during the last year is more than 20%.

Ken Griffin of the famous Citadel fund owned more than 6 million shares of Conagra in the latest filing. Griffin is good company to have when you own a stock. The short-sellers are not betting against Conagra or Citadel, and only 1.4% of the trading float is reported short.

Considering the explosive price action in the last six months, look for dips and overall market weakness as entry opportunities.

CAG Payout Ratio TTM Chart CAG Payout Ratio TTM data by YCharts
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