Just one restaurant name qualified: Darden (DRI - Get Report). The company's dividend has grown from 4 cents quarterly in 2005 to 50 cents last month, for a solid 3.7% indicated yield. DRI Dividend data by YCharts
Other companies meeting the criteria include Conoco Phillips (COP); retailers Lowe's (LOW), Walgreen (WAG) and Safeway (SWY); and aerospace and defense names Lockheed Martin (LMT), Raytheon (RTM) ), Northrop Grumman (NOC) and L-3 Communications (LLL). Also included are railroad companies CSX (CSX) and Norfolk Southern (NSC) and insurers Travelers (TRV), Chubb (CB) and Assurant (AIZ). Rounding out the list are Ameriprise Financial (AMP), McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Becton Dickinson (BDX). My work is not done here yet. The next step will be to identify some smaller names that are also buying back shares and giving back to shareholders. At the time of publication the author had no holdings in any of the stocks mentioned. This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.