3. Exxon Mobil ( XOM) Yield: 3% Exxon is the world's largest oil and gas company, with resources exceeding 80 billion barrels. The cyclical nature of the oil business is reflected in Exxon's financial results. After rising only 2% in five years, Exxon's earnings jumped 58% in 2010 to $30.5 billion, from $19.3 billion a year earlier. This year has been just as profitable. In the first half of 2011, earnings climbed 54% to $21.3 billion year-over-year, while EPS improved 47% to $4.32 per share.
Strong cash flow has allowed Exxon to raise dividends 28 years in a row, including a 7% increase in April to a $1.88 annual rate. Exxon's June balance sheet shows $10 billion of cash and $16.5 billion of debt, representing just 10% of equity. The stock's dividend payout ratio is 24%, while the yield is 2.6% based on the new rate.