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Why These Dividend Stocks Should Be on Your Radar

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The market's insatiable appetite for growth often puts dividend-paying companies on the back burner. Despite the allure of growth stocks, they also produce many sleepless nights, particularly in highly volatile markets. But the sentiment is beginning to shift.

Concerns regarding the fiscal cliff showed the value of dividend payers as several companies rushed to accelerate payments in the interest of shareholders. Also, there are several payers that have begun to increase their growth rate, giving investors the best of both worlds.

Here are a few names to consider.

Cisco (CSCO - Get Report)

Aside from offering one of the best yields at 2.80%, there are many more reasons to love Cisco. The networking giant is a sure-fire bet to hit $30 per share this year. The company has been a model of execution over the past two years, posting seven consecutive earning beats.

In its most recent quarter, Cisco posted net income of $2.6 billion, or 48 cents per share, on revenue of $11.9 billion. Not only did this represent 6% revenue growth, but net income surged 11% as profitability continues to improve. Likewise, the company advanced gross margins sequentially by roughly half of a point, exceeding expectations.

Management has come under fire over the past couple of years, but they deserve considerable credit for this turnaround, which has included a rash of M&A deals. The company's recent shopping spree includes spending $1.2 billion for Meraki and most recently $141 million in cash, bringing its cloud-based acquisitions to nine in 2012.

Cisco is looking to leverage its strong services business, which grew by 12% with more cloud-based purchases. The company understands that once enterprises start migrating fully into the cloud, software will become "the new hardware."

With the cloud market projected to grow to $177 billion within the next two years, there's not a company in a better position to capitalize on that growth. Also, with a strong balance sheet, respectable yield and very limited downside risk, patient investors would do well taking a position here at current levels. At minimum the stock will trade at $25.
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