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10 Best 'Dividend Aristocrats' for 2012

6. 3M

Liability Adjusted Cash Flow Yield: 4.81%

Dividend Yield: 2.52%

Return on Invested Capital: 21.50%

3M (MMM - Get Report) dabbles too much in share buybacks. The same can be said of many Dividend Aristocrats (or for that matter, many S&P 500 components), but in the case of the Minnesota-based company, the timing of buybacks has been particularly troubling.

In 2007, 3M traded near $100 a share; in 2009, 3M traded as low as $42 -- yet management committed 190 times as much money to share buybacks in 2007 than 2009.

Now imagine, instead, if management had saved their money (actually, their shareholders' money), until 2009, then used it to snap-up distressed investments or to poach talented workers who were indiscriminately laid off in the financial panic.

Managerial dabbling in the financial markets no doubt left long-term investors worse for the wear.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
BDX $142.41 0.00%
HRL $57.52 0.00%
ITW $97.51 0.00%
LEG $47.51 0.00%
MMM $162.06 0.00%

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