4 Dividend Darlings For Savvy Stock Pickers: Diageo plc, Countrywide PLC, British American Tobacco PLC And Talktalk Telecom Group PLC

Today I am looking at four FTSE heavyweights that should be on the shopping list of all savvy income seekers.

Dividends poised to flow

At first glance Diageo (LSE: DGE) may not be on the radar for those seeking appetising dividend yields. While the business has kept its progressive dividend policy chugging along despite recent earnings woes, prospective near-term payouts are expected to continue to lag the wider market.

Indeed, an estimated reward of 53.9p per share for the year concluding June 2015 creates a yield of 3% — below the FTSE 100 average around 3.3% — while 2016’s predicted payment of 57.8p creates a reading of 3.2%.

Still, I believe that for patient investors Diageo remains a tempting pick, as recovering consumer spend in established territories drives earnings skywards, which is a promising signal for future payouts. And with disposable income levels in critical emerging markets marching steadily higher, and the drinks play expanding its presence in the increasingly-lucrative premium label sector, I reckon dividend growth should explode further down the road.

Safe as houses

Buoyed by a healthy housing market, the City expects dividend expansion at Countrywide (LSE: CWD) to gallop comfortably higher this year and beyond.

For the current year the surveyors are anticipated to deliver a total payout of 24.1p per share, sprinting from 15p in 2014 and producing a monster yield of 4%. And this figure leaps to 4.6% amid expectations of a 27.3p-per-share payout.

Such terrific growth is hard to find across the FTSE indices, except perhaps within the housebuilding space. And this is not just a coincidence: with increasingly-generous mortgage products and government initiatives helping to boost house sales, I believe that the long-term earnings — and consequently dividend — prospects of firms related to this sector remains robust.

Dividends set to smoke

Like Diageo, I believe that cigarette giant British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) remains a brilliant stock selection due to its extensive exposure to delicious emerging markets.

Although total physical sales remain on the backfoot, the tremendous pricing power of brands like Lucky Strike and Dunhill has enabled revenues to continue ticking higher in recent times. With the firm also investing heavily in new territories — just this week the firm forked out €550m to purchase Central Europe-focussed TDR, giving it terrific access to the Balkans — I believe dividends should step higher in line with profits.

This view is shared by the City, and British American Tobacco is expected to raise last year’s dividend of 148.1p per share to around 155.3p per share in 2015 and to 160p in 2016, providing yields of 4.4% and 4.5% correspondingly.

Talk of the town

In my opinion TalkTalk Telecom Group‘s (LSE: TALK) aggressive expansion across the British ‘quad-play’ entertainment sector bodes well shareholder returns in the coming years.

The business bulked up its operations in this red-hot space through its purchase of Tesco’s blinkbox and Tesco Broadband, of course, and is also rumoured to be eyeing up the supermarket’s mobile operations. And Talktalk is also taking on sector goliaths like BT and Sky by rolling out improvements to its services and offering cut-price deals to customers taking up its multi-services packages.

Accordingly the analysts expect dividends to keep climbing in line with earnings, and a payout of 13.8p for the year concluding March 2015 is anticipated to rise to 15.9p in 2016, resulting in a juicy 4% yield. And predictions of an 18p dividend the following year push the yield to 4.5%.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo (ADR). We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.