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Going forward, S&P has changed the methodology on how it determines which companies qualify as Dividend Aristocrats. S&P notes it will only count regular dividend payments when determining the calendar year total dividend payments of a company. Special cash dividends will no longer be considered.

This table contains a list of Standard & Poor's Dividend Aristocrats for 2012. The rebalance will take place at the market's close on December 16, 2011. The green highlighted companies are the additions and the yellow highlighted company is the deletion. S&P has added 10 new Aristocrats while eliminating one, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL).

Barron's Income Investing Blog highlights some year to date dividend comments from Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst for S&P:

  • Year-to-date (YTD) dividend payers in the S&P 500 have returned 1.72%, compared to the non-payers loss of 4.63%.
  • The actual dividend payment YTD is up 16.2%.
  • The indicated dividend rate (based on the current rate) is up 16.8% YTD, but still off 4.9% from the June 2008 high.
  • From 1995 the S&P 500 indicated dividend yield has averaged 43% of the U.S. 10-year Treasury note, the current rate is 105%.
  • 215 issues have a current yield higher than the 10-year Treasury.

Disclosure: Long ABT, APD, ADP, BDX, CTL, CB, BEN, GPC, ITW, JNJ, LOW, MCD, NUE, PG, WMT

Source: S&P's Dividend Aristocrat Changes For 2012