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Are these among the best dividend stocks in the UK today?

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One of my main investing goals is to generate passive income. There are many ways to do this, such as buying real estate investment trusts. But perhaps my favourite way is to look for the best dividend stocks to add to my portfolio. As a UK-based investor, there are a number of dividend stocks I can choose from that are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Here are two that I think offer excellent dividend yields this year.

One of the best dividend stocks to buy

I think Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) is a top dividend stock to consider for my portfolio. It has a diversified business model, operating across insurance and investment management. Legal & General is also a member of the prestigious FTSE 100 index.

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Digging into the dividend forecasts, City analysts are targeting 4.5% growth in dividends per share for 2021 (with the fourth-quarter dividend pending). This is expected to grow by a further 4.5% in 2022. This might not sound too exciting, but the shares are cheap, in my view. Therefore, if I bought the shares today, I’d be generating a yield of 6.2%. I consider this highly attractive for a dividend that is growing each year.

One further positive about Legal & General is that it’s been a dependable dividend payer over the years. The average 10-year yield has been 5.5%, which make me confident that the dividends can keep rolling in. The company was able to carry on paying a dividend through the pandemic too.

I have to keep in mind that dividends are never guaranteed. If Legal & General’s profits drop, then there’s a good chance that the dividend will be cut. But on balance, I view the company as one of the best dividend stocks to buy for my portfolio.

Another company to consider

I’d also buy Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) shares in my search for dividends. It’s a diversified global mining company, but with a particular focus on iron ore extraction.

The forecast for the full-year 2021 dividend is a huge 15%. Rio Tinto has been able to pay bumper dividends as the iron ore price has surged. It’s fallen back now though, so I don’t expect this double-digit yield to be maintained in 2022.

In fact, analysts are forecasting that the dividend will be cut by a hefty 41% for 2022. This doesn’t sound great. But again, it should be looked at in relation to how cheap the shares are today. Even though this is a substantial cut, it would still result in a bumper forward dividend yield of 8.6%.

What’s more, Rio Tinto has been able to pay a dividend every year since 2010. The average 10-year dividend yield is a respectable 5.2%.

The likely huge dividend cut this year does highlight the risk of Rio Tinto shares. I expect any future dividend payments will be quite volatile and dependent on the price of iron ore.

Nevertheless, the still-high dividend yield makes up for this volatility. I’d buy Rio Tinto shares today, along with Legal & General, to diversify my portfolio with two of the best dividend stocks in the UK today.

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And with so many great companies still trading at what look to be ‘discount-bin’ prices, now could be the time for savvy investors to snap up some potential bargains.

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Dan Appleby owns shares of London Stock Exchange, Legal & General and Rio Tinto. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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