If you’re like a lot of other income-seeking investors, there’s a good chance you own a stake in dividend stocks like AT&T (T), Merck (MRK), and Phillip Morris (PM). They’re big, popular, and therefore easy to own.
Just because a stock is prolific, however, doesn’t mean it’s the best name in its sector if your goal is a strong dividend yield. There are other factors to consider, including consistency of payouts, history of dividend increases, and overall stock performance. After all, a 6% dividend yield doesn’t mean much if the stock price is falling more than that.
Here are three dividend stocks that could — and possibly should — replace the Phillip Morris, Merck, and AT&T you currently have parked in your portfolio: