Dividends4Life: Dividend 'Old Faithfuls' Offer Shelter From the Storm

Companies that have long track records of boosting their annual payouts to stockholders can be described as the dividend "Old Faithfuls," and USA Today identified the top ones that have proved the most dependable. USA Today started with Standard & Poor's so-called "Dividend Aristocrats," a list of companies that have hiked their dividends each year for at least the past 25 years. There are currently 54 companies that meet that high hurdle of reliability.

The Dividend Aristocrats have an average yield of 2.4 percent – higher than the average 1.9 percent yield of the overall S&P 500 Index. The newspaper then filtered the Dividend Aristocrat list by topping it with those that pay the highest dividends. Of course, there is no guarantee that any stocks on the resulting list will continue to boost their dividends, or even continue to pay a dividend at all. "And another risk is that the shares of the stock might underperform the stock market, meaning investors sacrifice capital gains for dividends," USA Today said.

Source: Money News

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