Trading Strategy: 2012 Dogs of the Dow

(Written by Rebecca Lipman. Data sourced from Finviz.)

The popularity of dividend income often sends investors flooding to high yield stocks, inflating prices–a pattern some investors are quick to capitalise on.

Dogs of the Dow is a stock picking strategy where investors buy into the 10 highest yield dividend stocks trading on the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the start of the year and sell at the end. The strategy has proven very successful over the years. reports this technique has given a 17.7% average annual return since 1973, an impressive return considering the DJIA return was 11.9% during that same period.

In 2010 the Dogs outpaced the Dow with a gain of 20.5%. In 2009, it priced in a 16.9% gain. In 2008 it declined after a flat year in 2007. Before that, in 2006, the Dogs had a record gain of 30.3%. The trend is largely positive since the strategy was popularised in 1991.

Business Section: Investing Ideas

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, but if you’re willing to try your hands at the Dogs of the Dow strategy we’re glad to help out.

Here are the 10 highest dividend yield stocks on the DJIA. It’s the start of January–do you think the strategy will prove successful in 2012?

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1. AT&T, Inc. (T): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Market cap of $179.20B. Dividend yield at 5.82%.

2. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Provides communication services. Market cap of $113.58B. Dividend yield at 4.99%.

3. Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK): Provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. Market cap of $114.91B. Dividend yield at 4.46%.

4. Pfizer Inc. (PFE): A biopharmaceutical company, offers prescription medicines for humans and animals worldwide. Market cap of $166.35B. Dividend yield at 4.07%.

5. General Electric Company (GE): Operates as a technology, service, and finance company worldwide. Market cap of $189.08B. Dividend yield at 3.8%.

6. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DD): Chemicals Diversified Industry. Market cap of $42.30B. Dividend yield at 3.58%.

7. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Engages in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. Market cap of $179.09B. Dividend yield at 3.48%.

8. Intel Corporation (INTC): Engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of integrated circuits for computing and communications industries worldwide. Market cap of $123.48B. Dividend yield at 3.46%.

9. Procter & Gamble Co. (PG): Provides consumer packaged goods in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $183.54B. Dividend yield at 3.15%.

10. Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT): Together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets packaged food products worldwide. Market cap of $66.01B. Dividend yield at 3.1%.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to see how analyst ratings have changed for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.