European Economy Improving Fast: 4 Top Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

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Between the Brexit and issues like refugees flooding in from war-torn Middle East countries, Europe has had its share of troubles over the past year. The good news for the region is many of the member nations economies are improving, and the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar at least gives them a window to export goods and services at very reasonable prices.

We have noticed the improvement here at 24/7 Wall Street, and we also noticed that some of the top European companies are offering outstanding dividends to investors, many of which are higher than their U.S. counterparts. We screened the Merrill Lynch research database to find stocks that were rated Buy and also paid solid dividends. We found four that look very tempting now.

Deutsche Telekom

This is an intriguing play for investors looking for telecom exposure in Europe and the United States. Deutsche Telekom A.G. (NASDAQ: DTEGY) offers fixed-network services, including voice and data communication services based on fixed-network and broadband technology, and it sells terminal equipment and other hardware products, as well as services, to resellers.

The company also provides mobile voice and data services to consumers and business customers, sells mobile handsets and other hardware products and sells mobile services to resellers and to companies that purchases and markets network services independently to third parties, such as mobile virtual network operators. In addition, it offers internet services, internet-based TV products and services for consumers, and information and communication technology products and solutions for multinational corporations and public sector institutions with an infrastructure of data centers and networks under the T-Systems brand, as well as provides integrated solutions for the digital age.

The company’s 65% ownership of T-Mobile is the key to this stock. The company reported outstanding earnings earlier this week, and the fast-growing and increasingly profitable number three U.S. wireless company seems to be gaining momentum as it poaches customers from the bigger carriers. The T-Mobile stake is now worth over $25 billion, or about 30% of Deutsche Telekom’s market value.

Shareholders receive a 3.7% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $21.85, the same as the Wall Street consensus target. Shares closed Tuesday at $16.46.


This top global pharmaceutical could offer outstanding total return for investors as solid portfolio holding. GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) offers pharmaceutical products in the therapeutic areas, including respiratory, anti-virals, central nervous system, cardiovascular and urogenital, metabolic, anti-bacterials, and emesis, dermatology, rare diseases, immuno-inflammation, vaccines, and HIV. It also provides consumer healthcare products in wellness, oral health, nutrition, and skin health areas.

Last year the company announced that the dividend would stay at its current level through 2017, a solid pledge for those seeking security. Also, the FDA approved the company’s Nucala add-on product for severe asthma with a very broad label. In addition, its ViiV Healthcare unit also reported promising data for its HIV treatments. GlaxoSmithKline plans to submit up to 20 new regulatory filings within the next five years, which confirms a very strong pipeline.

GlaxoSmithKline investors receive a 5.3% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $50 price target. The consensus price objective is $48.67, and shares closed Tuesday at $40.32.

Royal Dutch Shell

This company has survived the plunge in oil pricing plunge as good as or better than any other major integrated stock. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide through its Upstream and Downstream segments. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.

Royal Dutch Shell also converts natural gas to liquids to provide fuels and other products; markets and trades crude oil and natural gas; transports oil; liquefies and transports gas; extracts bitumen from mined oil sands and converts it to synthetic crude oil; and generates electricity from wind energy.

In addition, the company engages in the conversion of crude oil into a range of refined products, including gasoline, diesel, heating oil, aviation fuel, marine fuel, liquefied natural gas for transport, lubricants, bitumen and sulphur; production and sale of petrochemicals for industrial customers; refining; trading and supply; pipelines and marketing; and alternative energy businesses.

The company generated 3.83 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in the second quarter of this year from its integrated gas operations and another 6.40 billion cubic feet per day from its upstream operations. The company produced poorer-than-expected earnings in the second quarter, but it still ranks as one of the most profitable natural gas companies.

Investors are paid a 6.32 % dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $58, but a consensus price target was not posted. Shares closed Tuesday at $50.51.


This European telecom company tends to fly under investors’ radar and it makes very good sense now. Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ: VOD) has been scorched since the middle of May, in part because of the Brexit, and offers a solid entry point here. The company offers voice, messaging and data services across mobile and fixed networks; broadband and TV services; cloud and hosting, as well as internet protocol-virtual private network services; roaming services; and unified communications services.

It also provides M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer and payment service, and Vodafone One, an ultra-high-speed fixed broadband service with Ono Fibre, home landline, 4G mobile telephony and Vodafone TV.

In addition, Vodafone offers Internet of Things products, which includes communication between devices via mobile technologies; international voice transit and roaming; carrier services, such as fixed and mobile connectivity and other services; and smartphones and tablets. The company serves 462 million mobile, 13 million fixed broadband and 9.5 million TV customers. It sells its products primarily through branded stores, distribution partners and third party retailers.

Vodafone shareholders receive a 5.46% dividend. The $36.31 Merrill Lynch price target is less than the consensus target of $38.15. Shares closed most recently at $27.91.

These companies make sense for growth and income portfolios. They are big, safe and, best of all, for the time being the dividends look safe. Plus, a continued pickup in the European and world economy would bode well for them all.

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