Mad Money with Jim Cramer

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Cramer's Best Dividend Picks

Whether or not the stock market continues to rally, Jim Cramer recommends investors seek the protection of stocks with serious dividends. After all, if the stock market falls and the economy worsens, dividend-paying stocks will pay investors to wait until things get better.

The "Mad Money" host especially likes “accidental high-yielders” — the stocks with small payouts that wouldn’t ordinarily offer high yields. Because of downward pressure in the markets, which has hurt their share prices, those yields have shot up. So now investors get more bang for their bucks.

The added benefit of owning these kinds of stocks is that the newly high yields attract new buyers, and that puts a floor in the share price. Not only do investors get to collect the payout on the way down, but they can also ride the stock higher on the way back up.

We pulled together a list of Cramer's favorite dividend plays. Read on and pick one or two for your portfolio. They could offer just the kind of defense that you need.

By Drew Sandholm with Reuters
Posted 30 April 2012

When this slideshow was published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Abbott Laboratories, Coca-Cola, DuPont and International Paper.

Photo: CNBC.com