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Forget Cash ISAs. I’d buy these 2 FTSE 100 dividend stocks today for a passive income

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The FTSE 100’s market crash may cause some income investors to pivot from shares to other assets, such as Cash ISAs, when seeking to make a passive income. Cash ISAs offer far less risk than stocks. But their returns could be relatively unattractive in an era where low interest rates look set to remain in place.

As such, buying FTSE 100 shares that have the capacity to pay rising dividends over the coming years could be a sound move. Here are two prime examples of large-cap shares that could offer strong income returns, despite an uncertain global economic outlook.

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FTSE 100 pharma stock AstraZeneca

The recent quarterly update from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) highlighted its growth credentials. The FTSE 100 business reported a 17% rise in its sales compared to the same period of the previous year. And its core earnings increased by 21%.

Further growth could be ahead for the business over the long run. It has invested heavily in its pipeline over recent years. And it has developed a relatively strong position in emerging economies such as China. This could allow it to sustain a high growth rate that merits an upward revaluation for its share price.

AstraZeneca also offers defensive characteristics. This could make it a relatively popular stock among income investors due to the ongoing risks facing the world economy. Its dividend yield currently stands at just 2.6%. But it could rise at a relatively brisk pace over the coming years as the company’s bottom line moves higher.

While there may be higher-yielding shares available in the FTSE 100, the dividend growth potential and defensive nature of AstraZeneca’s business model could make it a reliable means of producing a strong passive income in the coming years.

Imperial Brands

Imperial Brands (LSE: IMB) recently reported that coronavirus has not had a material impact on its financial performance. As such, the FTSE 100 stock could offer defensive appeal at a time when many companies are facing challenging financial outlooks.

Of course, Imperial Brands faces its own challenges at the present time. Falling cigarette volumes, disappointing growth rates for its next-generation products versus forecasts and a management shakeup could mean that the FTSE 100 former favourite displays a degree of volatility in the short run. Likewise, the company may seek to reduce its debt levels as per industry rivals. As part of this strategy, it recently disposed of its cigar business.

With a dividend yield of 12%, Imperial Brands is currently one of the highest-yielding shares in the FTSE 100. A management change may mean that there is scope for its dividend policy to be updated. But investors appear to have factored in a wide margin of safety into the company’s share price. As such, with a defensive business model and strong pricing power in its tobacco portfolio, Imperial Brands could offer a relatively robust passive income over the long run.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of AstraZeneca and Imperial Brands. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Imperial Brands. 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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