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In December Standard and Poor’s updated their Dividend Aristocrats list. The companies which were added were:

Bemis (NYSE:BMS)
Legg Mason (NYSE:LM)

The companies removed from the list are:

Anheuser-Busch (OTCQB:AHBIF)
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)
Comerica (NYSE:CMA)
Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB)
Keycorp (NYSE:KEY)
Nucor (NYSE:NUE)
Progressive (NYSE:PGR)
Regions Financial (NYSE:RF)
Wrigley Wm (WWY)

The biggest surprise is the removal of Nucor from this elite list despite the fact that the company recently increased its payment to shareholders by over 9% to $0.35/share. Nucor does pay a special dividend in addition to the regular payment however. The special dividend payment has been decreasing over the past few years, as the regular payment has been increasing. The total quarterly payment for 3Q 2008 of 0.52/share was lower that 3Q 2007 payment of 0.61/share, which could be the reason why Nucor is booted out of the dividend aristocrats index. Check out my analysis of Nucor from this link.

Wrigley and Anheuser-Busch were removed because they were acquired. The rest of the deletions include financial companies, which cut their payments to shareholders in 2008.

In 2008 the dividend aristocrats’ index outperformed the S&P 500 by 15.50 percent. The dividend aristocrates lost 21.55% in 2008 versus the 37.00% loss for the S&P 500.

To view the full list of Dividend Aristocrats in 2009, check out Standard and Poors website.

Source: In Surprise Move, Nucor Removed from Dividend Aristocrats