As a Money Morning Member, you'll get our top financial news stories delivered straight to your inbox – every weekday morning.
Cancel at any time | How it works
Welcome to Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From.
Private Briefingwith WILLIAM PATALON III, Executive Editor
Not a member yet? Right now you can get immediate access to Money Morning’s Private Briefing for only $7.99. Click here to get started now.
Click here to get immediate access - for only $7.99.
Members log in:
Not a member yet? Sign up here or learn more.
Chief Investment Strategist
20-year seasoned market analyst and professional trader with highly accurate track record. Specialty in Asian markets.
Global Energy Strategist
35-year expert in oil and gas policy, risk assessment, and emerging market economic development.
Capital Wave Strategist
30-year CBOE trader, market maker, and retired hedge fund honcho. Helped launch the Volatility Index in 1993.
20-year commodity guru and portfolio advisor. Top authority on metals + mining stocks. Head- quartered in Canada.
Defense + Tech Specialist
30-year veteran of tech markets with a Rolodex of Silicon Valley CEOs. Pulitzer nominee. Uncovered rare earths crisis.
30-year veteran analyst of business, economics, and financial markets. Award-winning author of "Contrarian Investing."
Weary investors scouring the landscape to find decent dividend stocks to buy should take a hard look at the latest list of Dividend Aristocrats.
The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat Index measures the performance of companies in the S&P 500 Index with amarket value of at least $ 3 billion that have increased dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.
In 2013, only 54 companies, approximately 11% of companies in the S&P 500, made the cut.
Actually, it's no surprise this group of dividend stocks is tiny.
Think about it.
These companies have raised dividends for the last 25 years - a period of time that included the Great Recession, numerous oil price shocks, at least two major market meltdowns and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If they can steadily raise their dividends in the face of that kind of adversity, you can be pretty confident they're going to be around for awhile.
They're the kind of companies that consistently deliver the goods, having outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 on a regular basis. The Aristocrats returned 4.59% annually over the last five years, while the group as a whole produced a negative 0.25% return for the period.
These are businesses with strong balance sheets, healthy earnings and cash flow generation that can help you protect your portfolio - regardless of the market's direction.
But not every Aristocrat is worthy of your hard earned dollars.
Some drop by the wayside. Others are increasing their dividend by draining capital from their business.
Here's what to look for when choosing the best dividend stocks to buy.
Every year in the third week in January, S&P releases an updated list of qualifying companies - and quietly drops those that don't cut it anymore.
Even though Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) raised its dividend last year, its earnings have steadily declined over the years as demand for its postage mail-based products and services plummeted.
It was summarily banished from the list this year when its market cap dropped to $2.7 billion.
Meanwhile, only four newcomers were added this year.
But according to Money Morning Global Investing Specialist Martin Hutchinson there's only one of the freshly-minted Aristocrats that you should add to your portfolio right now - and some you should steer clear of.
"All you have to do is figure out which companies are run by sharpies - and are paying dividends out of capital - and which companies have genuinely solid business models that aren't going away," said Hutchinson.
Here's a look at each of the companies that made their debut in 2013, including the best one to buy.