Story updated with Apple's new high and additional IBM information.
NEW YORK (
(IBM - Get Report)
(QCOM - Get Report)
(MSFT - Get Report)
offer investors that perfect combination of dividend stability and robust growth, say analysts.
booming software sales
ongoing smartphone success
, the trio offer plenty of growth opportunities, while still paying decent dividends.
(AAPL - Get Report)
, which has superior revenue and profit growth, pays no dividend, though investors speculate that may change, given the nearly $100 billion cash pile.
|IBM is one of the tech heavyweights combining a stable dividend with strong growth.
Clearly, the days when tech dividends were perceived as the antithesis of growth are over.
"In the years of the dot.com boom, in Silicon Valley there was a firm dividing line between what would classically be called value stocks and growth stocks," explained Charles King, principal analyst at tech research firm Pund-IT. "Dividends were in the purview of stodgier, older stocks -- it was considered déclassé for tech stocks."
Fast forward to 2012, however, and many investors have come to appreciate dividends, particularly after the economic uncertainty of the last few years. Even Apple, the sexiest of consumer technology stocks, is coming under sustained pressure to
. The iPhone maker has not made a dividend payment since 1995.
Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant nonetheless hit a new all-time high of $474.22 on Wednesday.
Additionally, traditional non-dividend payers such as Microsoft and
(CSCO - Get Report)
have done an about-face. The software giant, for example, reversed its stance in 2003. Cisco, which reports its second-quarter results after market close on Wednesday, paid its first-ever dividend last year, but recently faced calls from consumer advocate Ralph Nader to
increase its payment
will be live-blogging Cisco's earnings, starting at 3.45 ET:
Read on for more details on why IBM, Qualcomm and Microsoft are the best of both worlds for investors -- booming, dividend-paying, tech stocks: