BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- If money talks, dividends just won't shut up right now. For investors, that's a very good thing.
For many, it may seem like a renewed emphasis has come back onto dividends in the last few years. In large part, that's because it has. Post-crisis, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are paying out higher average sustained dividend yields to investors than they have since the mid-1990s. That's a massive shift toward the importance of income; where dividend payers were once the "boring," low-growth names, investors are starting to expect income from more buoyant stocks in 2012.
And there's more where that came from. Corporations are still sitting on record profits and balance sheet cash positions, two critical factors in a company's ability to pay out higher dividends to investors. Many investors are still ignoring dividends, opting instead to focus on names that they think have better capital gains potential. If that's your strategy, you may want to take a second look at it.