Even though the past few years have been a rocky road for FedEx ( FDX), the global shipping giant has been staging a quiet climb in performance recently. FedEx pioneered the express shipping business in the 1970s, and while the firm now shares a shipping duopoly with top rival UPS ( UPS), FedEx still wears the crown in the express shipping segment. Unlike UPS, FedEx doesn't mingle its express and ground shipping units, a fact that makes the two firms a bit less simple to compare.

Elevated shipping volumes have helped both shipping firms for the past couple of years, with FedEx finally returning to earning net margins in the mid-single-digits. But while the market has warmed for shippers, it doesn't look much more competitive than it was just a few years ago. Huge barriers to entry and cautionary tales like DHL and the USPS make shipping look a whole lot less lucrative for newcomers than FedEx and UPS' income statements would suggest.

FedEx is far from a dividend stock. In fact, the firm's 0.57% dividend yield is by far the lowest payout on our list today. Even so, the firm is generating enough cash to offer up a dividend hike to its shareholders in the next quarter. That, in turn, could help buoy shares this spring.

To see these dividend plays in action, check out the at Dividend Stocks for the Week portfolio on Stockpickr.

And if you haven't already done so, join Stockpickr today to create your own dividend portfolio.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to TheStreet. Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily, and on Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

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