NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For income-seeking investors, it's a tricky time. Plummeting oil prices are pushing many energy companies toward a breaking point (Lightstream Resources (LTS) - Get Report and Linn Energy (LINE) have already moved to slash dividends), and while utilities continue to look stable, there are only so many stocks to go around.
Here are 11 high-dividend stocks (with an indicated dividend yield of 3% or higher as of December 31) billionaires are betting on, as per the iBillionaire High Dividend Index. We've left out energy stocks to give you an idea of what other great dividend plays are out there.
Dan Loeb came after Dow Chemical hard in November, going as far as to make a video outlining what he considered the company's "broken promises" -- even after it upped its dividend and buyback program. The heavy-handed maneuver earned Loeb's Third Point two seats on Dow's board.
With 22,000 shares as of his most recent 13F filing, Dan Loeb has a 13.24% allocation in Dow Chemical. Fellow billionaire George Soros holds nearly 3 million DOW shares, and Larry Robbins 2.4 million.
The company will pay its next quarterly $0.42 dividend on January 30.
Warren Buffett is one of GM CEO Mary Barra's biggest fans. And while vehicle recalls had many investors running for the hills in 2014, the Oracle of Omaha was buying. As of his last public filing, the billionaire holds 40 million GM shares.
Last January, the automaker announced plans to start paying a quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly six years. It last paid $0.30 in December.
Along with Buffett, David Tepper, Marc Lasry, Larry Robbins and George Soros also have stakes in GM. It's also part of the iBillionaire Index (in other words, dividends aside, billionaires like this one a lot).
After a merger with Shire (SHPG) - Get Report fell through in the fall, AbbVie became bit of a sore spot for John Paulson, who initiated a 13-million-share stake in the pharmaceutical company in the third quarter of the year. But despite the merger hiccup, the stock has managed to climb, gaining about 13% during the fourth quarter.
Another draw for AbbVie is its dividend yield of 3.00%. It will make its next payment of $0.49 on February 13.
In February 2014, Crown Castle International announced its first ever quarterly cash dividend to common stockholders, setting its initial payment of $0.35 for March 31. The wireless infrastructure operator and real estate investment trust has since upped its dividend even more, in December handing out $0.82.
Extended Stay America (STAY) -- 3.11% Yield
Hotel owner and operator Extended Stay America filed for an IPO in July 2013 and began trading in November of the same year. It paid its first dividend of $0.08 in March 2014 and latest of $0.15 in December.
Extended Stay has struggled on the market since going public, its price falling nearly, down 18% through market close yesterday. Its indicated dividend yield of 3.11%, however, remains attractive -- perhaps why John Paulson continues to invest.
A global chemical company focused on titanium products, Tronox has paid a $0.25 dividend over the past several quarters. As of his most recent regulatory filing, the company comprises more than 4% Marc Lasry's public equity portfolio.
McDonald's shares spiked in December on rumors that Bill Ackman was building a stake in the fast food giant, but according to the Pershing Square CEO, he and Ronald McDonald won't be making friends anytime soon. In a recent Bloomberg interview, the 2014 hedge fund standout said the stock is "not cheap" and contended the company has "serious issues."
But not everyone agrees. Billionaire Richard Chilton is a long-time McDonald's shareholder, and big names like Daniel Och, David Gottesman and David Shaw have positions in the company as well.
McDonald's has consistently paid a quarterly dividend since 2008 and most recently paid $0.85 on December 15.
Lorillard (LO) -- 3.91% Yield
One of David Tepper's under-the-radar holdings, Lorillard has made a successful play in the e-cigarette game. And it may soon become even more attractive, with shareholders set to vote on a Reynolds American (RAI) merger on January 28.
Lorillard paid a $0.615 quarterly dividend throughout 2014, up from the $0.55 paid in 2013.
Chemical company LyondellBasell has felt some of the fallout from lower oil prices, though tight markets for its products have served to its benefit. Most recently, the firm has announced expanded roles for three of its senior executives, and the stock is viewed quite favorably by analysts.
Billionaires like it, too. Leon Cooperman and Jorge Lemann have held onto the stock for quite some time, and it's now trading about 30% above the average purchase price of both. Ray Dalio and Marc Lasry are shareholders as well.
LyondellBasell has had quarterly dividend consistently since 2011, most recently paying out $0.70 on December 8.
Casino resort operator Wynn Resorts doubled its dividend in late 2014 from $1.25, paid in August, to $2.50 in November. Its indicated dividend yield now sits at 4.03%.
The stock has been subject to a number of downgrades recently, including Zacks' sell rating and Deutsche Bank's price target cut. Despite potential headwinds, Steve Mandel, Richard Chilton and George Soros have placed bets on it.
Earlier this month, Dividend Channel named Verizon Communications a top socially responsible dividend stock, citing its environmental impact, efficient use of energy and resources, and social criteria tied to human rights, corporate diversity and its impact on society.
In other words, Verizon shareholders - including Warren Buffett, John Paulson, Ray Dalio and Richard Chilton - should feel good about their investment. They'll pick up their next $0.55 dividend on February 2.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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