I am a huge fan of dividend investing for a couple of reasons.
First, companies that pay dividends are generally mature, stable businesses that have proven they can stand the test of time and share their profits with shareholders.
Second, they generate income without the need to sell off your positions. You can either cash out your dividends or reinvest them to purchase even more shares which will then go on to generate their own dividends.
If you're not sure how to find dividend stocks to invest in, a good place to start is the Dividend Aristocrats. The Aristocrats are a group of stocks that are part of the S&P 500 index and have increased dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. These companies have demonstrated a long and consistent policy of not just paying out dividends, but increasing them too.
There are six Dividend Aristocrats set to go Ex-Dividend during the first week of December. They are Wal-Mart (WMT), Genuine Parts Company (GPC), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), Leggett & Platt (LEG), and V.F. Corporation (VFC).
Remember, in order to capture the dividend you have to own the stock at the close on the day prior to its ex-dividend date.
Wal-Mart - Ex-Dividend 12/5/12
The retail giant needs no introduction. They operate over 10,000 locations and employ over 2.2 million associate worldwide. As of closing on Wednesday, November 28, Wal-Mart was trading at $70.56 with a dividend yield of 2.29% percent.
General Parts Company - Ex-Dividend 12/5/12
GPC distributes automotive parts, industrial replacement parts, office products, and electrical materials through its network of over 2,000 locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As of Wednesday it was trading at $63.84 and offering a dividend yield of 3.16 percent.
Kimberly Clark - Ex-Dividend 12/5/12
Kimberly Clark manufactures and markets products that are sold in 175 countries. Their products are sold under brands such as Kleenex, Huggies, Pull-ups, Kotex, Scott, and Viva. As of close on Wednesday KMB stock was trading for $86.03 and offered a dividend yield of 3.46 percent.
Stanley Black and Decker - Ex-Dividend 12/5/12
Perhaps best known for its power and hand tools, this diversified company's operations are classified into three business segments: Construction and Do it Yourself, Security, and Industrial. As of close on 11/28, it traded at 72.47 with a dividend yield of 2.79 percent.
V.F. Corporation - Ex-Dividend 12/6/12
V. F. Corp is a diversified apparel and footwear company that offers products through 35 brands including Nautica, The North Face, Lee, Wrangler, Jansport, and Timberland. As of Wednesday it traded at $162.10 per share with a dividend yield of 2.23 percent.
Leggett & Platt - Ex-Dividend 12/6/12
This diversified manufacturer produces a diverse array of products that can be found in both the home and office, including residential furniture and commercial fixtures, as well as specialized machinery. They employ over 18,000 people in their 130 facilities. As of Wednesday the stock was trading at $27.29 with a dividend yield of 4.27 percent.
Obviously you should always do your own research. This article is not intended as an endorsement of any of the stocks mentioned.
Disclosure: I am long LEG.