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Do you prefer stocks that pay part of their returns in dividend income? For ideas on how to start your search, we ran a screen.

We began by screening the S&P 500 for stocks paying dividend yields above 1% and sustainable payout ratios below 50%. We then screened these companies to find those with positive sales trends relative to inventory.

We screened for those with higher growth in revenue year-over-year, than growth in inventory, as well as inventory comprising a smaller portion of current assets over the same time period.

Although management can change their policies on the amount of inventory they hold, faster growing revenue relative to inventory is generally seen as a positive trend.

‪Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Do you think these companies pay reliable dividend income? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

1. Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY): Operates as a retailer of consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment products, appliances, and related services primarily in the United States, Europe, Canada, and China. Dividend yield at 2.68%, payout ratio at 20.66%. Revenue grew by 1.76% during the most recent quarter ($12,099M vs. $11,890M y/y). Inventory grew by -8.39% during the same time period ($9,220M vs. $10,064M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 67.87% to 57.95% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-11-26 to 13 weeks ending 2010-11-27).

2. Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI): Designs, manufactures, distributes, and services diesel and natural gas engines, electric power generation systems, and engine-related component products worldwide. Dividend yield at 1.29%, payout ratio at 13.80%. Revenue grew by 18.89% during the most recent quarter ($4,921M vs. $4,139M y/y). Inventory grew by 8.3% during the same time period ($2,141M vs. $1,977M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 31.44% to 30.19% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

3. CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX): Engages in the production of multi-fuel energy and provision of energy services primarily to the electric power generation industry in the United States. Dividend yield at 1.58%, payout ratio at 15.23%. Revenue grew by 13.62% during the most recent quarter ($1,542.21M vs. $1,357.32M y/y). Inventory grew by -0.08% during the same time period ($258.33M vs. $258.54M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 23.19% to 13.61% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

4. CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS): Operates as a pharmacy services company in the United States. Dividend yield at 1.44%, payout ratio at 18.99%. Revenue grew by 15.16% during the most recent quarter ($28,317M vs. $24,589M y/y). Inventory grew by -6.07% during the same time period ($10,046M vs. $10,695M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 60.4% to 54.03% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-12-31 to 13 weeks ending 2010-12-31).

5. Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX): Engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. Dividend yield at 2.93%, payout ratio at 22.93%. Revenue grew by 11.03% during the most recent quarter ($59,985M vs. $54,027M y/y). Inventory grew by 0.91% during the same time period ($5,543M vs. $5,493M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 11.25% to 10.41% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

6. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (NYSE:DPS): Engages in the manufacture and distribution of non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Dividend yield at 3.52%, payout ratio at 43.11%. Revenue grew by 3.47% during the most recent quarter ($1,461M vs. $1,412M y/y). Inventory grew by -13.11% during the same time period ($212M vs. $244M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 18.64% to 12.07% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

7. General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS): Manufactures and markets branded consumer foods worldwide. Dividend yield at 3.17%, payout ratio at 48.80%. Revenue grew by 13.7% during the most recent quarter ($4,623.8M vs. $4,066.6M y/y). Inventory grew by -4.53% during the same time period ($1,628.7M vs. $1,706M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 42.47% to 40.5% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-11-27 to 13 weeks ending 2010-11-28).

8. Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC): Distributes automotive replacement parts, industrial replacement parts, office products, and electrical/electronic materials in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. Dividend yield at 3.11%, payout ratio at 49.82%. Revenue grew by 7.35% during the most recent quarter ($3,014.14M vs. $2,807.73M y/y). Inventory grew by 1.68% during the same time period ($2,262M vs. $2,224.72M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 50.39% to 49.43% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

9. The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD): Operates as a home improvement retailer. Dividend yield at 2.34%, payout ratio at 43.41%. Revenue grew by 5.87% during the most recent quarter ($16,014M vs. $15,126M y/y). Inventory grew by -2.82% during the same time period ($10,325M vs. $10,625M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 78.83% to 71.11% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2012-01-29 to 13 weeks ending 2011-01-30).

10. Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW): Manufactures a range of industrial products and equipment worldwide. Dividend yield at 2.53%, payout ratio at 33.97%. Revenue grew by 10.36% during the most recent quarter ($4,319.31M vs. $3,913.75M y/y). Inventory grew by 4.95% during the same time period ($1,715.86M vs. $1,634.86M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 27.38% to 25.05% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

11. Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS): Engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of games and toys. Dividend yield at 4.06%, payout ratio at 41.25%. Revenue grew by 3.96% during the most recent quarter ($1,329.34M vs. $1,278.7M y/y). Inventory grew by -8.29% during the same time period ($333.99M vs. $364.19M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 16.4% to 14.82% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-12-25 to 13 weeks ending 2010-12-26).

12. Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON): Provides agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. Dividend yield at 1.53%, payout ratio at 35.48%. Revenue grew by 32.84% during the most recent quarter ($2,439M vs. $1,836M y/y). Inventory grew by -3.09% during the same time period ($3,136M vs. $3,236M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 40.57% to 32.22% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-11-30 to 3 months ending 2010-11-30).

13. Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC): Engages in refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum products primarily in the United States and internationally. Dividend yield at 2.28%, payout ratio at 6.70%. Revenue grew by 11.34% during the most recent quarter ($19,441M vs. $17,461M y/y). Inventory grew by 8.11% during the same time period ($3,320M vs. $3,071M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 30.54% to 27.66% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

14. Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO): Operates as an international energy company with operations in the United States, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Dividend yield at 2.02%, payout ratio at 33.26%. Revenue grew by 11.18% during the most recent quarter ($3,809M vs. $3,426M y/y). Inventory grew by -89.55% during the same time period ($361M vs. $3,453M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 24.97% to 11.2% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

15. Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR): Engages in the exploration and production of oil and gas properties worldwide. Dividend yield at 1.90%, payout ratio at 28.71%. Revenue grew by 22.53% during the most recent quarter ($6,817.51M vs. $5,564.07M y/y). Inventory grew by -12.54% during the same time period ($666.64M vs. $762.21M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 21.47% to 19.34% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

16. Patterson Companies Inc. (NASDAQ:PDCO): Operates as a distributor serving the dental, companion-pet veterinarian, and rehabilitation supply markets in North America. Dividend yield at 1.50%, payout ratio at 25.95%. Revenue grew by 8.53% during the most recent quarter ($895.03M vs. $824.65M y/y). Inventory grew by 3.56% during the same time period ($334.77M vs. $323.27M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 27.49% to 24.97% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2012-01-28 to 13 weeks ending 2011-01-29).

17. The Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE:SHW): Engages in the development, manufacture, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings, and related products primarily in North and South America, the Caribbean region, Europe, and Asia. Dividend yield at 1.46%, payout ratio at 35.13%. Revenue grew by 9.22% during the most recent quarter ($2,070.44M vs. $1,895.62M y/y). Inventory grew by 0.99% during the same time period ($926.81M vs. $917.7M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 41.46% to 40.98% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

18. St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ): Develops, manufactures, and distributes cardiovascular and implantable neurostimulation medical devices worldwide. Dividend yield at 2.18%, payout ratio at 32.93%. Revenue grew by 4.18% during the most recent quarter ($1,406.87M vs. $1,350.4M y/y). Inventory grew by -6.45% during the same time period ($624.48M vs. $667.54M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 22.92% to 18.42% during the most recent quarter (comparing 13 weeks ending 2011-12-31 to 13 weeks ending 2011-01-01).

19. Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX): Operates as a media and entertainment company in the United States and internationally. Dividend yield at 2.89%, payout ratio at 34.73%. Revenue grew by 4.88% during the most recent quarter ($8,193M vs. $7,812M y/y). Inventory grew by -1.56% during the same time period ($1,890M vs. $1,920M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 14.41% to 14.07% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-12-31 to 3 months ending 2010-12-31).

20. Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO): Operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. Dividend yield at 2.14%, payout ratio at 8.02%. Revenue grew by 60.42% during the most recent quarter ($33,713M vs. $21,015M y/y). Inventory grew by 7.49% during the same time period ($5,164M vs. $4,804M y/y). Inventory, as a percentage of current assets, decreased from 40.45% to 32.54% during the most recent quarter (comparing 3 months ending 2011-09-30 to 3 months ending 2010-09-30).

*Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 20 S&P 500 Dividend Stocks With Encouraging Inventory Trends