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Dividend stocks are going to be a focus for the coming few years and we continue to look for ideas that can help provide income and mitigate against the worst of the continuing financial turbulence. Brendan Byrnes of the Motley Fool gives his view on where to invest for dividends in 2012 and we will follow what he has to say and measure it against our ETF benchmark.

  • 3M (NYSE:MMM) produces more than 50,000 products. Even in 2009, one of the "worst economic times in memory," according to CEO George Buckley, the company still released more than 1,000 new products.This is a double edged sword with diversified products to minimize the impact of any one business going south against not being a dominant player in one large market. It has also increased its dividend for 53 consecutive years.
  • McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) isn't a surprise having been on the RADAR for many companies. However, there has been some bad news recently. Despite this, Brendan believes 2012 could be very profitable. The company is yielding 2.9%, and has increased that dividend for 35 consecutive years.
  • Sysco (NYSE:SYY) is his surprise pick. Sysco is North America's leading food-service distributor, commanding 17% of the market. The company is the highest dividend yielder of the three, at 3.7%, and has been able to grow that dividend for 42 straight years.

It would be nice to have more than three equities but these are solid, long term companies with strong dividend performance and the ability to ride out tough times. These may not be exciting companies, but certainly worthy of respect. We will see how they measure up to our dividend ETF benchmark.

Asset Fund in this portfolio
REAL ESTATE (NYSEARCA:ICF) iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors
CASH CASH
FIXED INCOME (NYSEARCA:TIP) iShares Barclays TIPS Bond
Emerging Market (NYSEARCA:VWO) Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF
US EQUITY (NYSEARCA:DVY) iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index
US EQUITY (NYSEARCA:VIG) Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF
INTERNATIONAL EQUITY (NYSEARCA:IDV) iShares Dow Jones Intl Select Div Idx
High Yield Bond (NYSEARCA:HYG) iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bd
INTERNATIONAL BONDS (NYSEARCA:EMB) iShares JPMorgan USD Emerg Markets Bond

Portfolio Performance Comparison

Portfolio/Fund Name 1Yr AR 1Yr Sharpe 3Yr AR 3Yr Sharpe 5Yr AR 5Yr Sharpe
Retirement Income ETFs Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate 1% 5% 9% 70% 8% 57%
Dividend Aristocrats for 2012 15% 86% 18% 101% 8% 36%
Retirement Income ETFs Strategic Asset Allocation Moderate -1% -4% 13% 80% 2% 6%

Bearing in mind that this is a selection of three equities and so there will be increased volatility, this is good performance. We can see that they have performed well over all of the time horizons and especially well over the shorter term where dividends are of increasing value.

Three Month Chart
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One Year Chart
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Three Year Chart
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Five Year Chart
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Over the long term, we can see that these dividend aristocrats out perform the buy and hold benchmark and are peaking in this tough environment. Not surprisingly, these long term companies are worth careful consideration.

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Source: Dividend Aristocrats For 2012