PRESCOTT, Ariz. (TheStreet) -- According to the StateStreet Global Advisors Web site the S&P 500 SPDR (SPY) has a trailing yield of 1.98%. Reports on CNBC have it up near 2.25%. Either figure is greater than the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury, which yields 1.77%. It is rare when stocks yield more than the 10-year Treasury and no doubt increases the spotlight on dividend paying stocks.
For investors looking to build a dividend-centric portfolio it may make more sense to work from the bottom up, choosing individual stocks instead of a broad fund that may include weightings to other sectors. Those weightings might also change based on how the market performs. In addition to having more control over sector weightings an investor choosing stocks will probably end up with a better yield as well. Altria ( MO) yields 5.1%, Verizon ( VZ) yields 4.8% and Westpac Banking ( WBK) yields 7.8%. DVY and SDY have trailing yields of 3.47% and 3.27% respectively. There is no free lunch here either. Individual stocks expose the portfolio to the consequence of poor choices vs. ETFs and possible poor sector allocations. The conclusion here is not that there is an easy out -- quite the opposite. The financial world has become far more complicated in the last 10 years. ETFs are great tools that will be the best choice for certain segments, but not every segment. For now, they are likely not the best choice for domestic large-cap dividend strategies.