Editor's note: This column was submitted by Stockpickr member Anthony Stapleton.

These are the times that try Stockpickrs' souls -- and their account balances. In difficult times, investors have historically returned to the boring, dull and stodgy favorites that pay dividends .

Individual investors are programmed to focus on gains. Turn to any of your favorite financial television shows and you will notice that the talking heads focus on how much a stock may go up but rarely focus on the downside risk and the dividend yield. This article will highlight several high-yielding dividend-paying stocks that can help provide stability to a portfolio without additional exposure to direct subprime risk.

Why are dividends important?

Dividends are a sign of steady profits and a sound business model. Share buybacks are nice, but dividends are the gift that keeps on giving. Paying a dividend is a sign of a company's commitment to provide additional income to its shareholders.

Generally, when the professionals start recommending dividend stocks they tout the usual stalwarts:

  • Wm. Wrigley (WWY)
  • Proctor & Gamble (PG)
  • Coca-Cola (KO)
  • Emerson Electric (EMR)
  • Allstate Insurance (ALL)
  • General Electric (GE)
  • Koss (KOSS)
.

While all of these may be solid choices, all but one pays a dividend of less than 3%. I want a higher yield and went in search of stocks that pay a dividend of 6% or more and that were not in the finance, banking, mortgage or private-equity industries.

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