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4 Dividend Stocks You Never Knew About

If a growth stock doesn't offer a dividend, you may have to take it yourself.

By OptionsZone Experts at InvestorPlace

Ever wish that a great growth stock also paid a dividend? Well, if a company isn't forking over the dough, you'll just have to go out and get it yourself. All you have to do is write a covered call.

A covered call is a popular option strategy in which you sell (i.e., write) enough call options to "cover" the shares of a stock that you own. When you do this, you bring in a premium that is yours to keep regardless of whether the stock gets called away from you, and this money is your synthetic dividend.

Here are four covered call trades that should offer you growth and a "dividend":

Cisco Systems (CSCO)

By Chris Johnson and Jon Lewis

Early in May,

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems Inc. Report

came out with earnings results that beat analyst expectations by more than 7% thanks to both top-line growth and cost cutting.

Despite the earnings beat, there was a larger question that company CEO John Chambers had to answer: What was Cisco going to do with the huge amount of cash on their balance sheet? Of course, whenever this question comes up, the first thing investors clamor for is a dividend. But that's not in the immediate future for Cisco, according to Chambers. But you can do better.

Sell the CSCO Aug 25 Calls for around 30 cents, or $30 for every 100 shares you own. You'll net a "yield" of 1.3% even if the stock goes nowhere during the next five weeks. On the other hand, this trade can return more than 6% should the stock close at $25 or higher on Aug. 20.

Apple (AAPL)

By Michael Shulman

Forget the noise about the iPhone 4 having some issues.


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

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is not a great growth stock; it is the great growth stock. For starters, the company's margins are triple that of its competition. Despite being such a dominant brand, it has limited market share in cell phones and computers, and therefore, near unlimited growth potential. And it dominates two other segments, music players and tablets.

AAPL is about as close to a perfect investment as you can get but, alas, it pays no dividend. So, with the stock at $250, if you buy it now and write an AAPL Oct 280 Call for every 100 shares you own, those options should net you about a $10 premium.

If AAPL goes above $280 before expiration and you get called out, you'll have a net profit of $40. If the stock does not get called away, you do it again. And again. And again.

American International Group (AIG)

By Chris Johnson and Jon Lewis

American International Group

(AIG) - Get American International Group Inc. Report

was the poster child for volatility throughout much of 2009, but the stock has since settled down. Although the shares have gained more than 20% so far this year, performance has been essentially flat for the past four months. With a couple of quick pops up to $45 in April and May, the stock has remained between $35 and $40 since early March.

Currently, the stock has a host of trendlines just below the current share price (in the $37-$37.50 range) to help with support. Up ahead, the $40 level has been troublesome, defining a top in June.

Despite the flat price action, option prices remain somewhat rich, probably thanks to the remnants of 2009's wild swings. Given the current technical background, buying AIG stock and selling the AIG Aug 42 Call will provide both immediate income (of around a dollar) and plenty of room for the stock to appreciate (around 12%) over the next month.

If the stock remains flat through August expiration, the yield on the call premium is 2.8%. The gain is capped at a stock price of around $43, which translates to a return of more than 15% at current prices. Either way, not bad for a trade that's open for just a month.

Thoratec (THOR)

By Michael Shulman

This covered call as a synthetic dividend strategy also works for riskier, small-cap companies, such as

Thoratec Corporation

(THOR) - Get Synthorx, Inc. Report


Thoratec is the maker of the first approved replacement heart. That's right, it makes a device that is implanted to restore lost function in damaged hearts. And the company has all the appropriate approvals and no competition.

The stock is somewhat overvalued, but the company has open field running for the foreseeable future and should grow into its valuation. Buy the stock around $45 and sell the THOR Oct 50 Calls for about $2. If you get called out at $50, you have a net profit of $7. If not, you keep writing calls to bring in more premium.