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Up first is AT&T ( T), the highest-yielding Dow component. AT&T's payout currently weighs in at a hefty 4.8%, even in spite of the 18% rally that investors have enjoyed over the course of the last year. That dividend instantly adds considerable upside to this telco's capital gains.

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While most analysts like to call AT&T the nation's second-biggest cellular phone carrier, it's a bit of a misnomer. Even though chief rival Verizon ( VZ) boasts millions more customers, VZ only owns 55% of its cellular carrier subsidiary. AT&T, on the other hand, lays claim to all of AT&T Mobility and its 92 million cell phone subscribers. While AT&T's cellular business may have more visibility, investors shouldn't forget about the firm's legacy fixed-line business. Those landlines provide significant cash flows, and the infrastructure offers a reasonably deep economic moat.

Ultimately, cash is king for a huge dividend payer like AT&T. The firm generates around $20 billion a year in free cash flows, or double what it needs to cover its dividend payouts. That combination of financial strength and a big yield should bode well for investors this year.

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