The Top 25 High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats

Dividend-paying companies are an oasis in the desert of underperforming stocks. They offer solid payouts today and the promise of capital gains tomorrow. According to a study by Ibbotson, reinvested dividends made up about 40% of total stock returns from 1926 to 2006. In fact, dividend investing is so appealing that super investor Warren Buffett has made it a significant component of his portfolio.

When searching for great dividend stocks, it makes a lot of sense to start with companies that have been playing the dividend game the longest. Standard & Poor's has culled the dividend winners from the also-rans in a list it calls the "Dividend Aristocrats." But Standard & Poor's has also created another similar index that it calls the High Yield Dividend Aristocrats.

According to Standard & Poor's, "The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index is designed to measure the performance of the 60 highest dividend yielding S&P Composite 1500 constituents which have followed a managed dividends policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 25 years."

Let's examine the top 25 high-yield dividend aristocrats ranked by yield. For context, I've also included their five-year annualized dividend growth rate.

Company

Yield

5-Year Dividend Growth Rate

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL  )

8.3%

63.9%

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI  )

7.6%

3.1%

Mercury General (NYSE: MCY  )

6.3%

5.6%

National Retail Properties (NYSE: NNN  )

6.2%

3.2%

Cincinnati Financial (Nasdaq: CINF  )

6.0%

4.6%

HCP (NYSE: HCP  )

5.5%

(5.7%)

Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG  )

5.4%

10.7%

Vectren (NYSE: VVC  )

5.3%

2.6%

Universal Corp (NYSE: UVV  )

5.0%

2.2%

Black Hills Corp (NYSE: BKH  )

4.9%

2.2%

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED  )

4.4%

0.9%

Atmos Energy (NYSE: ATO  )

4.2%

1.5%

Kimberly Clark (NYSE: KMB  )

4.2%

7.7%

RPM International (NYSE: RPM  )

4.2%

5.8%

WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL  )

4.0%

2.7%

Diebold (NYSE: DBD  )

4.0%

5.5%

Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY  )

3.9%

4.0%

Northwest Natural Gas (NYSE: NWN  )

3.9%

4.8%

Sonoco Products (NYSE: SON  )

3.9%

4.0%

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT  )

3.8%

10.0%

UGI Corp (NYSE: UGI  )

3.6%

8.2%

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  )

3.5%

9.9%

Westamerica Bancorp. (Nasdaq: WABC  )

3.5%

2.7%

Genuine Parts (NYSE: GPC  )

3.5%

5.8%

Clorox (NYSE: CLX  )

3.4%

14.4%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor’s.

These aren't formal recommendations -- just ideas for your own further research. Still, they could give you a great start toward find companies capable of paying rising dividends for a quarter-century or more.

Get the best dividend stocks you can find. Read the Fool's special report, "13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today." It's free.

Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson, Piedmont Natural Gas, Clorox, Kimberly Clark, Abbott, and UGI, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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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 August 16, 2011, at 3:49 PM, Stoneaa wrote:

    Here is a full list of dividend aristocrats sorted by dividend yield:

    http://long-term-investments.blogspot.com/p/dividend-aristoc...

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2011, at 3:38 PM, richjoy403 wrote:

    Can someone please indicate how HCP, as a dividend Aristocrat, can be a member of a group of stocks having paid increased dividends for 25 years...and yet be reflected above as having a negative 5-yr dividend growth rate?

    (And the answer cannot be related to it's 2:1 split in May 2004, as that is more than 5 yrs ago)

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2011, at 6:15 PM, raffoolish wrote:

    @richjoy403 I am also wondering the same question.. how could HCP increase its dividend every year for 25 years and still have a negative 5-yr dividend growth?

    Where's the financial math trick?

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