The search for potential dividend plays in 2013 has led me to high-quality names that lagged in 2012. Whether or not we fall off the "fiscal cliff" in the coming days and weeks, the outlook is for slower economic growth in the first half of the new year. As a result, I believe there will be a rotation into names that appear safer in early 2013.
One such name on my radar screen is Boeing. At $76, the stock is up just 4 percent on the year, which is less than half the return of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That said, the company is in the midst of a multi-year commercial aerospace upgrade cycle and is expected to post accelerating earnings growth over each of the next three years.
Meanwhile, Boeing offers a 2.6-percent dividend yield at current levels. Even though this is not the highest yield in the Dow, I believe the company has the capacity to raise its payout more than its index peers over the next several quarters. Boeing just boosted its payout on Dec. 17 to $0.485 a share. Investors at the close of trading on Feb. 12 (the must-own date) will qualify for the next dividend on March 8. The payment can be covered 2.7x with expected 2013 earnings of $5.22.