NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are a select group of stocks that have increased their dividends each year for 25 or more consecutive years. This group of stocks is called the "Dividend Aristocrats." These stocks don't just sound royal -- they perform like kings. Over the last decade, an index of the 54 Dividend Aristocrats stocks has returned 10.91% a year, versus just 8.06% a year for the S&P 50.
Looking at the top Dividend Aristocrat stock in 10 sectors, the numbers are impressive. As a group, the 10 stocks below have an average dividend yield of 2.8% and an average price-to-earnings ratio of 18.5. All of the businesses below have increased dividend payments for 25 consecutive years, making it very likely that shareholders will see dividend increases in the future. These 10 stocks are for investors looking for income growth and safety in 2015.
As 2014 comes to a close, give yourself the gift of growing dividend income this year and beyond.
Sector 1: Consumer Discretionary -- McDonald's
McDonald's (MCD) is the largest restaurant company in the world with a market cap of over $90 billion. McDonald's is nearly three times as large as its closest competitor based on market cap. McDonald's success has translated into growth for shareholders. The company has increased its dividend payments for 38 consecutive years.
McDonald's currently sports a healthy 3.7% dividend yield to go along with its below-market-average price-to-earnings ratio of around 19. McDonald's has grown its dividend payments at over 19% a year over the last 10 years.
McDonald's has experienced a slew of bad news recently. The company has suffered in China this year due to its Chinese supplier selling tainted meat. Getting caught up in the living wage debate has also caused the company trouble in the U.S. McDonald's management has plans to simplify its menu and better control its marketing message to return the company to growth both domestically and abroad. McDonald's long history of profitable growth should help shareholders sleep well at night as the company reinvigorates its operations.