Aiming for Royal Returns

S&P believes investing in stocks with consistently rising payouts is a sound strategy, so here's an updated list of dividend aristocrats

One of Standard & Poor's favored investing approaches is to buy stocks of companies that regularly increase their dividends.

This way, as you hold the shares, your returns will grow, and the yield on your initial investments should continue to climb (see BW Online, 2/28/05, Bowing to "Dividend Aristocrats").

Investors should remember that about 40% of the total return over the history of the S&P 500-stock index was due to dividends and their reinvestment.

With that in mind, here's S&P's list of "dividend aristocrats" -- companies that have regularly upped their dividends for 25 or more consecutive years. The table also includes the dates of recent dividend boosts for stocks on the list.

As companies announce dividend changes during the year, please check back with us for future updates. (Note: May Department Stores was removed from the list in August, 2005, after its acquisition by Federated Department Stores.)

  S&P DIVIDEND ARISTOCRATS
COMPANY TICKER RATE ($) (8-31-05) YIELD (%) (8-31-05) ACTION IN 2005 ACTION IN 2004
3M Co MMM 1.68 2.4 Increased in February Increased in February
Abbott Laboratories ABT 1.10 2.4 Increased in February Increased in February
ALLTEL Corp AT 1.52 2.5   Increased in October
Altria Group MO 3.20 4.5   Increased in August
AmSouth Bancorp ASO 1.00 3.8   Increased in October
Anheuser-Busch Cos BUD 1.08 2.4 Increased in July Increased in July
Archer-Daniels-Midland ADM 0.34 1.5 Increased in February Increased in February
Automatic Data Proc ADP 0.62 1.5   Increased in November
Avery Dennison Corp AVY 1.52 2.8   Increased in October
Bank of America BAC 2.00 4.6 Increased in June Increased in June
Bard (C.R.) BCR 0.52 0.8 Increaded in June Increased in July
BB&T Corp BBT 1.52 3.7 Increaded in June Increaded in June
Becton, Dickinson BDX 0.72 1.4   Increased in November
CenturyTel Inc CTL 0.24 0.7 Increased in February Increased in February
Chubb Corp CB 1.72 2.0 Increased in March Increased in March
Clorox Co CLX 1.12 1.9   Increased in November
Coca-Cola Co KO 1.12 2.5 Increased in February Increased in February
Comerica Inc CMA 2.20 3.6 Increased in January Increased in January
ConAgra Foods CAG 1.09 4.8   Increased in September
Consolidated Edison ED 2.28 4.9 Increased in January Increased in January
Donnelley(R.R.)& Sons RRD 1.04 2.8  
Dover Corp DOV 0.68 1.7 Increased in August Increased in August
Emerson Electric EMR 1.66 2.5   Increased in November
Family Dollar Stores FDO 0.38 1.9 Increased in January Increased in January
First Horizon Natl FHN 1.72 4.4   Increased in October
Gannett Co GCI 1.16 1.6 Increased in July Increased in August
Genl Electric GE 0.88 2.6   Increased in December
Grainger (W.W.) GWW 0.96 1.5 Increased in April Increased in April
Jefferson-Pilot JP 1.67 3.4 Increased in February Increased in February
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 1.32 2.1 Increased in April Increased in April
Johnson Controls JCI 1.00 1.7   Increased in November
KeyCorp KEY 1.30 3.9 Increased in January Increased in January
Kimberly-Clark KMB 1.80 2.9   Increased in January and December
Leggett & Platt LEG 0.64 2.6 Increased in May Increased in August
Lilly (Eli) LLY 1.52 2.8   Increased in December
Lowe's Cos LOW 0.24 0.4 Increased in May Increased in May
McDonald's Corp MCD 0.55 1.7   Increased in September
McGraw-Hill Companies MHP 0.66 1.4 Increased in January Increased in January
Merck & Co MRK 1.52 5.4   Increased in July
Nucor Corp NUE 0.60 1.1 Increased in February Increased in February and September
PepsiCo Inc PEP 1.04 1.9 Increased in May Increased in March
Pfizer, Inc PFE 0.76 3.0   Increased in December
PPG Indus PPG 1.88 3.0 Increased in April Increased in April
Procter & Gamble PG 1.12 2.0 Increased in April Increased in March
Progressive Corp,Ohio PGR 0.12 0.1   Increased in August
Regions Financial RF 1.36 4.2 Increased in January Increased in January and April
Rohm & Haas ROH 1.16 2.7 Increased in May Increased in May
Sherwin-Williams SHW 0.82 1.8 Increased in February Increased in February
Sigma-Aldrich SIAL 0.76 1.2 Increased in February Increased in February
Stanley Works SWK 1.16 2.5 Increased in July Increased in July
State Street Corp STT 0.72 1.5 Increased in June Increased in June and December
Supervalu Inc SVU 0.65 1.9 Increaded in June Increased in August
Target Corp TGT 0.40 0.7 Increased in June Increased in June
U.S. Bancorp USB 1.20 4.1   Increased in December
VF Corp VFC 1.08 1.8   Increased in October
Wal-Mart Stores WMT 0.60 1.3 Increased in March Increased in March
Walgreen Co WAG 0.26 0.6 Increased in July Increased in July
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