Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

5. Pfizer (PFE)

Forward yield: 4.2%

Pfizer is the world's largest drug maker, but shares have taken a beating this year due to the patent expiration of Lipitor, the company's top-selling cholesterol drug. Still, Pfizer has other drugs in the pipeline that will likely soften the blow, including Apixaban, an anti-coagulant that may be superior to existing treatments and addresses a $7 billion market.

Earnings growth for Pfizer is projected to slow to only 3% a year, but the trade-off is a 4% dividend yield. In December, Pfizer increased its dividend by 10% to an $0.88 annual rate. The new dividend rate is payable March 6, 2012, to shareholders of record on Feb. 3, 2012. The company has paid dividends for 73 years and posted 29 consecutive years of increases, before cutting the dividend in 2009 to pay for the Wyeth acquisition.

Risks to consider: A double-dip recession would hurt First PacTrust and GE. Pfizer may not be able to bring new drugs to market quickly enough to offset declining Lipitor sales.

Action to take: My top pick within this group of stocks is GE, because of its impressive earnings and dividend growth, not to mention its solid position in so many industrial segments, including health care, infrastructure, technology, aviation and finances. I like Pfizer for its cash flow and yield, and RGC and Sysco for their consistent dividend-paying track records.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 5 Stocks With Growing Dividends to Buy Before Year-End portfolio on Stockpickr. Disclosure: Neither L. Springer nor StreetAuthority, LLC hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.

Also see:
  • 2 of the World's Highest-Yielding Telecom Stocks
  • Why I Just Bought Shares of this Oil Giant
  • 4 Reasons Why Silver Should be in Your Portfolio
  • This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

    If you liked this article you might like

    How to Fire People Like Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch

    Tax Reform Is Coming and That Means Trump Stock Rally Is Ready to Kill It Again

    'Trump Stock' Rally Is Back on Track

    These Stocks Pay You to Own Them

    GE Is 'One of the Toughest Stocks I've Ever Had to Deal With,' Jim Cramer Says