Dividends are often the key factor for long term investors in differentiating between risky and safe plays. In time of great market volatility, or even bear markets, an expected cash quarterly cash payout is a safe haven for investors. The global markets are heading for a 10 year expansion, but some underlying risks do remain present.

This last week, corporate earnings were mixed. Many top companies did not deliver on expected EPS and revenue growth estimates, and guidances were revised and lowered for many top names by the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and Nvidia (NVDA). However, the CBOE Volatility Index (often termed the investor’s “fear index”) has steadily declined for the past few months, as a new quarter of expansion has descended on the markets.

Regardless, high market capitalization dividend picks are typically safe bets. In this article, I will discuss a few high yield dividend stocks that you can hold for years, taking in a nice quarterly or yearly dividend payout.

AT&T

AT&T (T) is arguably the largest player in the media and telecommunications business, owning a variety of subsidiary media companies such as DirecTV. AT&T is also in the process of appealing a decision to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion. With all of these mergers and acquisitions, however, the risk with AT&T is highly prevalent within its leveraged structure. AT&T has had to resort to great leverage to acquire companies, completing many LBOs (leveraged buyouts).

AT&T provides an excellent dividend yield

That being said, AT&T is the largest company chasing a 5G network, with constant research and development funding being poured into creating a 5G network. With low latency and high speed, AT&T will look to prove its continued consumer growth numbers. AT&T has also made it a priority this year to deleverage itself, paying off debts and decreasing spending. With excellent management and a dominating market presence, AT&T still maintains a yield of 6.93%, an unprecedented number.

Exxon Mobil Corporation and Chevron Corporation

Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) are both major players in the energy sector, particularly in oil and gas, controlling nearly all aspects of the production and sales processes within each corporation. This should be expected, given their longstanding history as subsidiaries of Standard Oil, the Rockefeller’s oil monopoly. With dividend yields of 4.36% and 4.00% respectively, both look to be excellent picks to give a portfolio exposure to the energy sector.

Both oil production companies will provide a safe dividend

Both companies continue to control vast expanses of mines, oil rigs, and research and development technologies for energy, as two of the most powerful companies in the world. Energy will remain a necessity across the world, and both companies will remain the top players in the industry. As oil prices should continue to rise, both corporations will seek to benefit, and should increase production of energy. Despite failed OPEC supply cuts, Exxon and Chevron will be solid long-term plays.

Qualcomm Inc.

With a yield of 4.89%, Qualcomm (QCOM) is an excellent stabilizer for any portfolio. With a diversified set of assets, ranging from semiconductors to telecommunications, Qualcomm is another excellent example of a growth-potential. Like AT&T, Qualcomm is rapidly trying to expand and develop their 5G network, which could would inevitably magnify capital inflows from investors.

Qualcomm is at a discount and has a high yield

Qualcomm has recently had more than its fair share of issues, ranging from a failed buyout attempt from Broadcom (AVGO) to conflicts with Apple (AAPL) as a result of a court case regarding the usage of Qualcomm modems in the iPhone. As a result, not only is Qualcomm trading at a discount right now, but its yield remains strong.

High Yields Too Good To Be True

In today’s market, many dividend stocks seem to be safe, high return plays. One may look at equities such as Mesabi Trust (MSB) or MV Oil Trust (MVO), and see dividend yields of nearly 20%. Upon closer inspection, these equities trade at incredibly low volumes. The average volume of Mesabi Trust is only around 130,000. The total market capitalization is only $380 million, and the stock has historically been subject to wild price swings. There is no point in speculating on a 20% yield if the stock crashes to half of its original value.

When finding good dividend stocks, one must understand that a high yield does not equate to a safe play. One must also realize that just because a dividend exists, it is not immune from a cut if the company’s future prospects are not positive. A good dividend stock is just like any other stock you would want to purchase — excellent management, a good balance sheet, and a sustainable strategy.

Data from finance.yahoo.com

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