Breaking Down Societe Generale’s Top 40 Dividend Stocks in the World

Dividend stocks have long been considered an essential part of a balanced portfolio. While investors can seek out growth stocks to ramp up their returns, the stable, regular income of dividend stocks can help shoulder the load when the markets aren’t cooperating.

In its quest to recognize those stocks that deliver ample payouts, European financier Societe Generale (PINK:SCGLY) recently published its annual report of the top 40 dividend payers across the globe, based on 2011 dividends. And in addition to dropping some whopping numbers — for instance, European telecom Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) paid out 12% last year, and even after its announced cut, still yields 9% — there’s a few interesting trends.

First, a look at the list:

SocGen’s 40 Best Dividend Stocks in the World
Company Ticker Yield Company Ticker Yield
Telefonica TEF 12% Roche RHHBY 4.2%
Banco Santander STD 9.9% Siemens SI 4.0%
Westpac WBK 7.9% BP BP 3.9%
National Australia
NABZY 7.7% Merck MRK 3.8%
Vodafone VOD 7.6% Philip Morris PM 3.8%
Vale VALE 7.4% Pfizer PFE 3.7%
France Telecom FTE 7.4% General Electric GE 3.6%
ANZ Banking ANZBY 7.0% Nestle NSRGY 3.6%
Bank of Australia
CBAUY 6.6% Johnson & Johnson JNJ 3.4%
AT&T T 6.5% Intel INTC 3.2%
ENI E 6.1% JPMorgan Chase JPM 3.2%
Total TOT 5.7% Procter & Gamble PG 3.2%
Verizon VZ 5.1% BHP Billiton BHP 2.9%
GlaxoSmithKline GSK 4.8% Chevron CVX 2.9%
Royal Dutch Shell
(A Shares)
RDS.A 4.8% Coca-Cola KO 2.8%
HSBC HBC 4.8% Microsoft MSFT 2.6%
Sanofi-Aventis SNY 4.7% Wal-Mart WMT 2.4%
Royal Dutch Shell
(B Shares)
RDS.B 4.6% Wells Fargo WFC 2.4%
Novartis NVS 4.4% Exxon Mobil XOM 2.1%
British American
BTI 4.3% IBM IBM 1.6%
Note: Companies ranked on blend of 2011 dividends and company-specific characteristics. Share prices used to determine ranking are from Jan. 23, 2012

While emerging markets might be hot regions for growth, no one can beat ol’ fuddy-duddy Europe and the United States for income investing — the regions combine for 85% of the companies on this list. “Oceania” really refers to Australia and its bevy of high-yielding banks — as well as miner BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) at 2.9%. And the emerging market of Brazil did manage to make it onto the list, with miner and metal company Vale (NYSE:VALE) representing South America at an enormous 7.4% yield. The breakdown is shown below:

Broken down by industry, financial, energy and pharma companies are the heaviest hitters in dividends, with a good spread in telecoms — for instance, frequent Dow dividend leaders AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) — and technology.

Kyle Woodley is the assistant editor of As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley.
Assistant Editor Adam Patterson contributed to this report.

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