Wells Fargo says that investors concerned about the growth and earnings outlook may be best served to stick with the 51 current Dividend Aristocrats.
Dividend aristocrats are defined by Standard & Poor's as large-cap companies in the S&P 500 that have increased dividends every year for at least 25 straight years. Investing in only the aristocrats has been a profitable strategy, with the group returning 5.3% last year, compared to a flat return on the broader index.
Earlier this year, TheStreet offered up a list of 10 best Dividend Aristocrat stocks for 2012, but Adams and Wells Fargo break down the entire list of 51 stocks to point out every opportunity.For example, consumer staples as a group is little changed this year even though 13 consumer staples names make the Aristocrat list, including Clorox (CLX), PepsiCo (PEP), Coke (KO), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Procter & Gamble (PG), among others. The next largest group of Dividend Aristocrat stocks is consumer discretionary. Inclusions on the list include McDonald's (MCD), Target (TGT), Lowe's (LOW) and VF Corp. (VFC). Investors also have plenty to choose from in the financials, health care, industrials and materials sectors. However, the decision is easy when it comes to buying energy, tech, telecom and utilities, as each sector only has one stock as an Aristocrat representative. They include Exxon Mobil (XOM), ADP (ADP), AT&T (T - Get Report) and Consolidated Edison (ED).