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4 Top Dividend Plays To Help Cure Stock Price Blues

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P harmaceuticals aren't just a source of relief for physical ailments -- their oft-steady dividends can provide some comfort even if their stocks underperform.

Today we'll look at four drug stocks in the Dividend Leaders screen with yields that beat the 2.05% average of the S&P 500.

Pfizer ( PFE ) on Monday raised its quarterly payout by 7% to 30 cents a share. That works out to $1.20 on an annual basis, for a 3.7% yield. It will be Pfizer's 309th consecutive quarterly dividend.

The New York-based drug giant plans to redomicile in Ireland, and it announced last month that it's acquiringAllergan ( AGN ) for $160 billion. Analysts expect Pfizer's annual profit to fall 4% this year and climb 8% the next, with sales to dip 2% before rising 9% in 2016.

Shares have been consolidating since late July and are below the 10-week and 40-week moving average lines. But the stock is up about 4% YTD vs. the S&P 500, which is flat.

Merck ( MRK ), which has paid a quarterly dividend since 1970, currently offers a 3.5% annualized yield. The New Jersey-based drugmaker's sales fell the past few years. Views are for a 6% dip this year and a 2% rise in '16. Annual profit was flat last year. The Street expects gains of 2% and 5% this year and next.

The stock is slightly underwater for the year. It's been hugging the 10-week line as it works on a base with a potential 61.80 entry.

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ), with an annual payout of 2.9%, makes the Dividend Leaders screen but isn't in Thursday's IBD due to space limitations. Like the broader market, it's flat for the year. A 13-month consolidation shows a 109.59 buy point for now.

Amgen ( AMGN ) pays a 2.4% dividend. The biotech has five-year earnings and sales growth rates of 15% and 8%, respectively. Analysts expect EPS to jump 16% this year and 6% the next, and respective sales increases of 8% and 3%. The stock is shaping a cup with handle, with a 165.10 buy point. It's up 2% YTD.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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