Microsoft raised its dividend by a full 25% last year, and more increases are expected in 2012.
A better example might be that of "sin stocks." Unlike Apple and Microsoft, which still have robust and growing demand for their products, American tobacco firms have faced slowing demand for their products for decades. But with no need to spend cash on investment and no need to advertise, tobacco stocks have still proven to be fantastic investments, in large part due to their rock-solid dividends.
I consider dividends to be the key to profitable investing in the years ahead. There will be periods when speculative growth stocks are more attractive, and we happen to be in one this quarter (see "Sin Stocks Trail Their More Virtuous Peers " as an example). But for the core of your portfolio, stable, dividend-paying stocks are an attractive option in a world of slow growth and extremely low bond yields.
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