The 25 Highest-Yielding Dividend Champions

Yes, dividend investing is popular. Congress has extended legislation that maintains the low tax rate on corporate payouts through 2012. A great place to look for dividend stalwarts is among those companies that have successfully paid out cash for decades.

The authoritative list of Dividend Champions is compiled by the DRiP Investing Resource Center annually and features those companies that have increased dividends for more than 25 years straight. The latest list details about 100 companies that have met the center's criteria, and these companies need not be part of the S&P 500 in order to qualify, unlike the Dividend Aristocrats index.

Below I highlight the 25 highest-yielding Dividend Champions in rank order by yield. I've also included the number of years that they've paid out a dividend:

Company

Dividend Yield

Number of Years

Investors Real Estate Trust (Nasdaq: IRET  )

7.4%

39

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL  )

7.2%

37

AT&T (NYSE: T  )

6.2%

27

Altria (NYSE: MO  )

6%

42

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI  )

6%

28

Washington REIT (NYSE: WRE  )

5.8%

39

Old Republic Int'l (NYSE: ORI  )

5.8%

29

Vectren (NYSE: VVC  )

5.2%

51

HCP (NYSE: HCP  )

5.2%

26

Bowl America Class A (NYSE: BWL-A  )

5%

39

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED  )

4.8%

37

Cincinnati Financial (Nasdaq: CINF  )

4.8%

50

Black Hills (NYSE: BKH  )

4.7%

41

Universal Corp. (NYSE: UVV  )

4.6%

40

Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG  )

4.6%

39

Kimberly Clark (NYSE: KMB  )

4.3%

39

United Bankshares (Nasdaq: UBSI  )

4.3%

37

Community Trust Bancorp (Nasdaq: CTBI  )

4.2%

30

Middlesex Water (Nasdaq: MSEX  )

4%

38

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT  )

3.9%

38

WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL  )

3.9%

34

Connecticut Water Service (Nasdaq: CTWS  )

3.8%

41

Sysco (NYSE: SYY  )

3.8%

41

Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY  )

3.7%

32

MGE Energy (Nasdaq: MGEE  )

3.7%

34

Source: Dripinvesting.org. Based on March 4 stock price.

Given their strong track records, these stocks are a great place to begin your research, but they're not formal recommendations. High yields could be time bombs, and that really attractive high yield could suddenly die. So investigate such companies thoroughly and diversify across sectors, no matter how delicious that dividend looks.

For a basket of some high-yield some dividend opportunities, click here to get The Motley Fool's five-page free report: 13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2011, at 4:18 AM, kimslaughter wrote:

    For people interested in comparing the dividend champions with the dividend aristocrats:

    http://goo.gl/xjc8h

    Like Jim says, high dividends might not last forever, so do your homework.

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