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The S&P500 Dividend Aristocrats (2010 Edition)

The S&P Dividend Aristocrats are companies in the S&P500 index that have increased their dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. Companies on the list have been increasing their dividends since 1984 – meaning they’ve increased it through the economic malaise of the early 90’s [3], the dot com bubble of the early 2000s [4], and the worst recession since the Great Depression!

This post covers the 2010 S&P500 Dividend Aristocrats, an updated list you can check out this year’s S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats [5] list.

Before you go out and snatch up a few shares of some of these companies, remember that there is only one reason why they are on this list – they have increased their dividends each year for twenty five years. It doesn’t mean they are good companies, it doesn’t mean they will continue to increase dividends (ten companies dropped from the list in 2009), and it doesn’t mean they make good investments. Remember to do your own homework and that past returns are not indicative of future performance.

The S&P doesn’t look at dividend coverage (how much of the dividend is covered by cash flow) or the yield, just that the total dollar amount of the dividend has increased every year for at least twenty five years.

Who are the Dividend Aristocrats?

There are currently 43 companies on the Dividend Aristocrats list. They are:

Changes for 2010

There were two additions to the Dividend Aristocrats (changes were made on December 18, 2009):

There were ten removals from the list – Avery Dennison (AVY [50]), BB&T Corp (BBT [51]), Gannett (GCI [52]), General Electric (GE [53]), Johnson Controls (JCI [54]), Legg Mason (LM [55]), M&T Bank (MTB [56]), Pfizer (PFE [57]), State Street Corp. (STT [58]), and US Bancorp (USB [59]). Remember, to remain on the list they have to increase their dividend, just standing pat will get you removed from the list. You might see them come back in twenty five years. 🙂

Poor Legg Mason, they were added when the list was adjusted in December 2008 (it’s adjusted every December), and they lasted just one year!

There you have it, the kings of the dividend jungle!

(Photo: law_keven [60])