Dividend stocks give investors the powerful combination of current income and growth potential. Even as the stock market soared in 2013, strength in dividends was responsible for much of the market's overall gains.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at how dividends helped send stocks rocketing higher. Dan notes that in 2013, almost 2,900 stocks raised their dividends, compared with just 300 dividend cuts. He notes how companies that haven't paid dividends in years have started rewarding shareholders, with General Motors (NYSE:GM) becoming the latest example by implementing a $0.30 per share quarterly dividend that yields 3%. Other companies are making big increases to their existing dividends, with 3M (NYSE:MMM) having implemented a 35% dividend increase and Boeing (NYSE:BA) boosting its payout by 50% recently. Dan concludes that as long as dividends can keep growing, the stock market could follow suit with continued gains.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M and General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.