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Is AMP Limited a top dividend stock?

Historically, dividend income has been a very important contributor to an investor’s overall returns.

That historic fact, combined with the significant proportion of retirees who are reliant on superannuation to provide them a steady stream of income suggests dividend stocks will remain a core portfolio focus for many investors.

Unfortunately, as shareholders of Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) have found out recently, even market-leading blue chips don’t offer assured dividend income.

According to CommSec, analyst consensus is forecasting a cut to Woolworths’ dividend pay-out over the next few years from 139 cents per share (cps) in financial year 2015 to just 89 cps by FY 2018.

AMP’s attractive yield

One blue-chip stock that could meet the requirements of income investors is wealth management company AMP Limited (ASX: AMP).

AMP’s earnings are reasonably predictable given much of the group’s revenues are based on funds under management and advice. Likewise, the financial planning business operates with significant scale. While the insurance operations now appear to have been stabilised, which suggests this business should now offer more consistency than it has in the past.

The group’s franking of dividends has been increasing in recent years from just 65% in 2013 to 90% for the latest dividend. It would appear likely that future dividends will be fully franked.

AMP’s dividend is well covered by earnings. In 2015, the pay-out ratio was 72% leaving significant room for maintaining the current dividend value.

What’s more, CommSec’s data shows that analysts are expecting both earnings and the dividend to rise over the next two years.

With AMP’s share price currently at $5.71, the stock is trading on what would appear to be an attractive FY 2016 forecast dividend yield of 5.3%.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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