BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Looking back historically, dividends and tech stocks haven't exactly gone hand in hand. In fact, the S&P 500 hit its all-time low dividend yield --1.11% -- during the height of the dot-com bubble, as zero-yielding tech names made up a record chunk of the big index and ballooned in price.
But in recent years, something strange has happened: The world's biggest tech names have matured. And like mature businesses tend to do, they're paying out dividends in record numbers.
Right now, the companies that make up the S&P 500 index are sitting on record cash -- and they're led by the technology sector. Ironically, in many respects, the high-risk tech stocks of yesterday are actually the best names for today's risk averse income investors. After all, tech stocks are more likely to have coffers stuffed with cash, little to no balance sheet leverage, and little reliance on the health of the consumer credit market.>>5 Toxic Stocks You Should Sell That's right -- if you're antsy about the state of the economy right now, high-yield tech stocks are the place to be. So today, we're taking a look at five names that look primed to hike their dividends in the next quarter. Over the last three and a half decades, dividend stocks have outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by 2.5% annually, and they outperformed nonpayers by nearly 8% every year, all while paying out cash to their shareholders, based on data compiled by Ned Davis Research. The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts. But instead of chasing payouts, we'll try to step in front of the next round of hikes. >>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying For our purposes, that "crystal ball" is composed of a few factors: namely a solid balance sheet, a low payout ratio, and a history of dividend hikes. While those items don't guarantee dividend announcements in the next month or three, they do dramatically increase the odds that management will hike their cash payouts, especially as investors start to get antsy about whether or not 2013's rally will be able to hang on. Without further ado, here's a look at five tech stocks that could be about to increase their dividend payments in the next quarter.