BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- As the tug of war between stock market buyers and sellers continues to drone on, there are three words investors should be remembering right now: Cash is king.
I'm not just talking about companies that have cash, though. Don't get me wrong -- I'm a fan of companies that have big cash balances. But there's another group of stocks that are potentially more interesting: the stocks that are sharing the biggest profits with shareholders in this market.
Fundamental investors don't put enough emphasis on cash. Instead, metrics like P/E get more attention than they should. But most investors don't realize that in the real world, the term "earnings" has a tenuous relationship with the amount of cold hard cash a company brings in. Noncash accounting items, like depreciation or unrealized gains, can impact profits without actually changing the amount of cash shareholders have access to. Even dividends don't hold the whole story.Today, we're bypassing the accounting measures, and looking at five large-cap stocks that are sharing the most cash with investors in 2012. To do that, we're tallying up dividend and net stock buybacks (the amount of its own stock bought back by the firm, less any issuances) and finding the firms that are returning the most value to shareholders by those measures. >>ACTIVE STOCK TRADERS: Check out Stockpickr's special offer for Real Money, headlined by Jim Cramer, now! Without further ado, here's a look at five stocks that are sharing the most money with their owners.
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