BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Throw a dart at a board of S&P 500 stocks, and you're more likely to hit a dividend payer today than at any other time in the last decade. Right now, more than 400 S&P constituents pay dividends -- the biggest percentage of payers in the index since all the way back in 2000.
That's a big factor in the record dividend payouts investors are taking home this year.
Companies are bringing on the dividends right now, tapping their record cash reserves and record profits to pay investors in 2012. In the last year alone, dividend payouts in the S&P 500 have climbed by an impressive 30.8% as management tried to incentivize investors to hold onto their positions. A lot of that growth has come from new payers, who are returning cash to shareholders for the first time.
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