By Jeff Reeves of InvestorPlace

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 2010 seemed to get off to a good start ... at least until May, when the bottom fell out and the market started its slow and steady march back down to the lowest levels since November. And with the way things have been going lately, it doesn't look like the bleeding is going to stop any time soon.

Amid this volatility, dividend stocks are in favor on Wall Street as many investors look to limit their downside with guaranteed payouts. Banking the dividends from your portfolio can help replace some of the value lost when shares slide -- or if the payout is good enough and the stock is stable enough, actually grow your nest egg even while other investors are in the red.

To position your portfolio for profits even in a rough market, here are 7 low-risk dividend plays right now.

BlackRock Kelso (BKCC)

Recommendation by: Bryan Perry, editor of Cash Machine

Dividend Yield: 13.2%

Business Development Companies, or BDCs, are investment pools set up in the form of closed-end funds that get special treatment from the SEC, mainly because they provide financing to thousands of companies that a lot of big banks wouldn't touch. That special treatment comes with a catch similar to REITs however -- where BDCs must deliver 90% of the income back via dividends. Though risky, these type of aggressive high-yield financial stocks are great ways to spice up your dividend holdings. My favorite BDC right now is BlackRock Kelso Capital ( BKCC) which has a market cap of about $550 million and a dividend yield of -- wait for it - more than 13%! With loan/equity positions in roughly 55 companies, this high-yield stock should keep paying that hefty dividend consistently and keep your pockets full.

Reynolds American (RAI)

Recommendation by: Louis Navellier, editor of Blue Chip Growth

Dividend yield: 6.9%.

Reynolds American ( RAI) is a low-risk, large-cap stock that yields a hefty 6.7% dividend yield. Now the second-largest tobacco manufacturer in the United States, RAI was created from the merger of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings and Brown & Williamson. In the first quarter, the company's net income was $85 million compared with $8 million during the same period in 2009. Net sales for the period were $1.98 billion compared with $1.92 billion the year before. Excluding extraordinary items, the company's operating earnings were $1.11 per share beating analysts' estimates of $1.07 per share and providing a 3.7% earnings surprise! Looking forward, the company reaffirmed its year-end 2010 earnings forecast of between $4.80 per share to $5 per share from continuing operations. This shows great growth potential on top of a mammoth dividend.

Merck (MRK)

Recommendation by: Richard Band, editor of Profitable Investing

Dividend Yield: 4.4%

Despite my optimism for 2010 as a whole (and part of 2011), there's no denying a choppy market is hurting investors in the short term. That means when you look for high- yield dividend stocks, you should avoid "growthier" stocks such as techs and midcaps if you want to see a stable share price and a stable payday with your dividend. One of my top low-risk defensive plays for this volatile summer is MerckMRK. In 2009, MRK absorbed rival Schering-Plough, opening the way for the combined enterprise to cut costs and concentrate its research efforts on the most promising medicines in the pipeline. Earnings per share touched a new all-time high in 2009 and will likely progress another 20% or so over the next two years as the merger savings kick in. With a dividend yield of 4.4%, MRK is a great low-risk dividend stock.

Conagra (CAG)

Recommendation by: Louis Navellier, editor of Blue Chip Growth

Dividend yield: 3.4%.

While Conagra Foods ( CAG) doesn't have a jaw-dropping dividend yield, this low-risk investment should see good share price appreciation to back up its consistent quarterly payouts. Conagra is one of the largest food producers in the world. The company offers both packaged and frozen foods under iconic brands that include Banquet, Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice, among many others. Recently, the company has sold off its agricultural segments and a number of non-core brands in order to concentrate on branded and value-added packaged foods. This has been a very smart move for the long term. Share prices are up a hair year-to-date in 2010 -- which shows the stability of this stock even in a brutal market.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Recommendation by: Richard Band, editor of Profitable Investing

Dividend yield: 3.6%

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), which reaped a windfall Feb. 1 when rival Boston Scientific agreed to pay JNJ $1.7 billion to settle a patent-infringement case, couldn't get much going thanks to the Greek debt drama and other market woes. JNJ ranks as one of the less impressive stocks in the ranking of Dow returns for the first half of 2010. But on the plus side it is trading at half the price-earnings ratio it fetched a decade ago and throwing off a plump 3.6% dividend. The market correction in May and June has made the stock remarkably cheap for one of the world's strongest and safest businesses. JNJ boasts a triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's, a distinction shared by only three other U.S. industrial firms. This is a great low-risk dividend play.

Kinder Morgan (KMP)

Recommendation by: Richard Young, editor of Intelligence Report

Dividend yield: 6.6%

I don't just like Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP) because it is a strong energy stock. I also like it because all investors want transparency when it comes to the companies they own in their portfolio. Kinder Morgan has a proven and substantial commitment to transparency, and that goes a long way in the current market. The company goes so far as to publish its budget and copious operational data right on its website. My analysis shows Kinder currently reverting to its long-term trend of steady share appreciation. Buy before it gets well on its way! Kinder Morgan has a dividend yield of 6.6%, and has maintained its dividend since 1992. The stock has a 5-year average return of 11%, proving this stock has staying power.

Dupont (DD)

Recommendation by: Bryan Perry, editor of Cash Machine

Dividend Yield: 4.7%

Some of the biggest winners in a recovering economy are those companies engaged in the basic businesses of resins, sealants, coatings, industrial chemicals, plastics, adhesives, soybean and corn seed and Tyvek building wrap. That means big things for DuPont ( DD). In fact, Dupont has already shown its promise as one of only five Dow stocks to post positive returns in the first half of 2010. Dupont has seen steadily improving numbers for each of the last four quarters, topping earnings estimates each time by as much as 17%. Growth like that bodes very well for the company's next earnings report on July 27. With a hefty 4.7% dividend yield and a strong track record of boosting payouts, this is a great stock for income investors looking for some stability right now.

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