25 Dividend Stocks That Analysts Love the Most

The longest bull market in history has stocks trading at record-high levels. That sounds like great news all around, but it actually creates a problem for income investors: Where can they find dividend stocks poised for outperformance that still sport decent yields?

The idea, after all, is to buy stocks when they're low, not hitting new highs. Furthermore, the market's relentless rise is depressing yields on dividend stocks.

Don't forget: The yield on a dividend stock falls as its price goes up. A year ago, the dividend-paying stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index had a trailing yield of 2%, according to Birinyi Associates. After gaining roughly 13% over the past 52 weeks, the yield on the S&P 500 is down to 1.8%.

Quality buy-rated dividend stocks with better-than-average yields are hard to find, but we're here to help.

First, we scoured the S&P 500 for dividend stocks with yields of at least 2%. From that pool, we focused on stocks with an average broker recommendation of "Buy" or better from Zacks Investment Research. Lastly, we dug into research and analysts' estimates on the top-scoring names. That led us to these 25 great dividend stocks that have the highest analyst ratings.

Johnson & Johnson

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Market value: $362.2 billion

Dividend yield: 2.7%

Analysts' average rating: 2.0

There's a reason Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, $135.35) is the largest health-care stock by market value in the world. From 1944 through 2016, steady growth and a dependable dividend allowed JNJ to deliver an annualized return of 15.5%, making it the seventh-best dividend stock of all time. J&J has raised its dividend annually for 56 years, earning it a place on the S&P Dividend Aristocrats list - an index of stocks that have hiked their payouts for at least 25 consecutive years.

More immediately, analysts expect Johnson & Johnson to post 11.5% growth in earnings per share this year on a 6.2% increase in revenue, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

J&J operates in several different areas of health care, including pharmaceutical products and medical devices. The company is best-known, however, for its over-the-counter consumer brands including Listerine mouthwash, Tylenol pain reliever and Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

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