Rates Are Really Going Nowhere Now: 4 Merrill Lynch Top Dividend Stock Buys

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Qualcomm

This top technology stock has traded sideways this year and it resides on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list of top picks. Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies.

The growth of 3G mobile technologies in emerging markets, like China and India, has had a positive impact on Qualcomm and could be a difference maker going forward. Qualcomm is and has been for years a market leader in the development of 3G CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technologies. The company recently developed an LTE chipset that supports SCDMA (Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) technology. China’s mobile network runs on this, and it could provide the company with a huge leg up in years to come. The company signed numerous big licensing deals recently in China that gave the stock a solid boost.

Qualcomm has successfully regained its position at Samsung, as the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge are powered by its Snapdragon 820 processor. The company solved all the problems, such as overheating, that were found in the Snapdragon 810 processor. While smartphone competition has been steep for the company, it has begun entering into the new market segments, such as the Internet of Things, cars, drones and data centers, that will help the company overcome some of the recent product losses and produce profits.

Qualcomm investors receive a 4% dividend. The $65 Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is well above the consensus price objective of $57.19. Shares closed Friday at $53.00.

Starwood Property Trust

This top real estate company also makes good sense for income investors now. Starwood Property Trust Inc. (NYSE: STWD) is an affiliate of global private investment firm Starwood Capital Group and is the largest commercial mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States.

Its core business focuses on originating, acquiring, financing and managing commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate debt and equity investments. Through its subsidiaries LNR Property and Hatfield Philips International, Starwood Property Trust also operates as the largest commercial mortgage special servicer in the United States and one of the largest primary and special servicers in Europe.

Starwood Property investors are paid an outstanding 9.3% distribution. The Merrill Lynch price target is $21.50, and the consensus target is at $21.89. Shares closed Friday at $20.66.

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These four companies run the gamut of risk, but they all have one thing in common, solid payouts with decent growth potential. With the markets trading right near the top levels, it may be wise to buy partial positions now and see if the summer doesn’t offer up another sell-off.