Dividend investing is popular again. Investors have taken to heart Jeremy Siegel's studies, which show that higher-yielding stocks tend to offer greater returns over time than low- or no-yield stocks.

The highest dividend yields can be very tantalizing. As long as a stock yielding 15% doesn't lose value, you'll make 15% in one year! In more cases than not, however, an astronomical yield is a bad sign for a stock. Since dividend yields and stock prices move in opposite directions, a high yield usually means that investors have begun to worry about the business, and driven down its stock price.

Dividends are not guaranteed; you need to make sure that a business is generating enough cash to pay its dividend, or your investment could be disastrous.

A few months ago, I ran a screen for the highest-yielding telecom stocks, and it got such a good reception that I'm doing it again this quarter. The only limitations I set are I'm only considering telecoms and they must have a market cap greater than $1 billion.

Here are the top 25 highest-yielding telecoms the screen produced:

 

Company

Market Cap (in millions)

Dividend Yield

1

Cellcom Israel (NYS: CEL)

$2,090

12.0%

2

France Telecom (NYS: FTE)

$44,280

11.5%

3

Telefonica (NYS: TEF)

$83,603

11.4%

4

Portugal Telecom (NYS: PT)

$6,900

11.3%

5

Frontier Communications  (NYS: FTR)

$7,156

10.3%

6

Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo S.A. (NYS: VIV)

$32,007

10.2%

7

CenturyLink (NYS: CTL)

$20,484

8.5%

8

Turkcell (NYS: TKC)

$9,548

8.4%

9

Windstream (NAS: WIN)

$6,334

8.0%

10

Telecom Corp. of New Zealand (NYS: NZT)

$3,874

7.5%

11

Telecom Italia SpA (NYS: TI)

$20,260

7.3%

12

Brasil Telecom S.A. (NYS: BTM)

$4,247

7.2%

13

KT (NYS: KT)

$8,288

6.6%

14

Philippine Long Distance Telephone (NYS: PHI)

$10,479

6.5%

15

AT&T (NYS: T)

$164,921

6.1%

16

SK Telecom (NYS: SKM)

$10,193

6.1%

17

Vodafone Group (NYS: VOD)

$129,903

5.7%

18

Verizon Communications (NYS: VZ)

$99,708

5.6%

19

Chunghwa Telecom (NYS: CHT)

$26,171

5.6%

20

BCE (NYS: BCE)

$30,126

5.3%

21

Telefonos de Mexico (NYS: TMX)

$15,140

5.2%

22

Telecom Argentina (NYS: TEO)

$4,565

4.7%

23

BT Group (NYS: BT)

$19,968

4.5%

24

TELUS (NYS: TU)

$17,183

4.1%

25

China Mobile (NYS: CHL)

$205,968

4.1%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

These stocks are a good place to start your research, but they're not formal recommendations. Remember, their seemingly irresistible yields could be ticking time bombs, so do your own due diligence. Also, make sure you diversify your picks across various sectors. As investors relearn every decade or so, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket -- no matter how tempting the dividends are.

For a basket of some high-yield some dividend opportunities, click here to get The Motley Fool's five-page free report: "13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today."

At the time this article was published Dan Dzombak's musings and articles he finds interesting can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak. He owns shares of Frontier Communications, France Telecom, and Vodafone Group.The Motley Fool owns shares of Telefonica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of USA Mobility, France Telecom, Vodafone Group, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, Partner Communications, AT&T, Cellcom Israel, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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