NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet Ratings uses a point-based system to assign letter grades to stocks. The cream of the crop -- those that receive a perfect 100 -- are given an "A+" and represent a small percentage of the stocks that we cover (currently, 84 out of more than 5,000 issues).
Browsing this list, you'll discover a common thread between many of these stocks: Most of them pay dividends.
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That's because TheStreet Ratings stock-rating model favors defensive investments with a bias toward conservatively financed companies that have demonstrated a history of favorable shareholder returns. And as history proves, dividends account for a large portion of the average investors' total stock market return.
The five stocks on the following pages are among the highest-rated stocks that we cover, and they all pay dividends in excess of the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond. They might make an attractive addition to your income portfolio.As always, stock ratings should not be treated as gospel -- rather, use them as a starting point for your own research.