The S&P 500 index is packed full of dividend stocks -- in fact, about 85% of the 500 companies in the index pay dividends. The average dividend payer currently yields 2.6%, but there are some companies that pay much more than that. Let's take a look at the 10 highest-paying S&P stocks, as well as a brief description of each one.
Two types of high-dividend stocks
The average dividend yield among the top 10 is an impressive 6.58%, but there are two main varieties of stocks that pay high dividends.
Some are solid companies with bright futures, which simply have been beaten down due to market conditions. For example, Conoco Phillips (NYSE:COP) pays a 6.02% dividend yield as a result of its share price dropping more than 40% over the past year.
Other stocks on the list are mainly oriented toward producing income, so their yields are naturally high. For instance, HCP (NYSE:HCP) is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, specializing in healthcare properties. By definition, REITs are required to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders, so it makes sense that the stock's dividend yield is over 6%. REITs and telecommunications stocks tend to be income-oriented, so it makes sense that they comprise six of the top 10.
Matthew Frankel owns shares of AT&T. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Kinder Morgan and Oneok. The Motley Fool recommends Verizon Communications. 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.