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10 Best 'Dividend Aristocrats' for 2012

3. C.R. Bard

Liability Adjusted Cash Flow Yield: 5.44%

Dividend Yield: 0.82%

Return on Invested Capital: 32.99%

By happenstance, the 10 stocks named in this article form a reasonably diverse portfolio.

If there is any redundancy to be had, one could argue that C.R. Bard (BCR) and Becton Dickinson -- both New Jersey-headquartered medical equipment providers -- present an either-or situation. Over the decades, Bard has delivered investors a better return (perhaps a reflection of the company's superior return on capital), and Bard is the cheaper of the two companies.

However, Becton Dickinson's dividend yield exceeds Bard's by a wide margin. Without analyzing the future prospects of either company, Bard may present the better long-term value while Becton Dickinson may prove more attractive for investors seeking a higher-level of current income.

The "right" answer may prove dependent on the investor's personal situation.

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