Money back
Bond yields are woeful. Money markets are about as profitable as a lemonade stand. And interest rates might stay low for a while. If you want yield, dividend stocks are the best way to get it. These stocks just don't get the respect they deserve. Here's a jaw-dropper: Over the past 100 years, dividends were responsible for 90% of U.S. stock returns, says money manager BlackRock. One reason that's so surprising is that the recent past was different. But the rising price-to-earnings ratios of the 1980s and '90s, which fueled stock gains during that time, were an anomaly, argues Bill Priest of Epoch Investment Partners. Dividends are likely to reclaim their preeminence, he says, as sky-high government debt in developed countries lowers GDP growth, in turn hampering corporate earnings growth. So what can you depend on? Cash from the sometimes dowdy but reliable companies that write checks to their shareholders year in and year out.

All prices as of 5/16/11. All price/earnings ratios are based on consensus analyst estimates for earnings over the next 12 months (the equivalent figure for the S&P 500 is 14.2).
Last updated May 26 2011: 6:56 AM ET

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