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Four Stocks Yielding More Than 4%

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These companies -- including Lorillard and Genesis Energy -- have a yield greater than 4%, a history of raising their dividends, and are expected to grow earnings in both 2012 and 2013.

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When most people think of generating returns from the stock market, they think of only one thing: capital appreciation.

This is somewhat understandable given that the average yield on the S&P (INDEXSP:.INX) has fallen considerably over the last few decades. It currently yields just 1.9%, well below its historical average of 4.5%. Check out this chart from multpl.com:



But historically, dividends have accounted for more than 40% of the total return of the S&P 500, and most of the best-performing stocks over the long haul have been stodgy dividend payers.

Growth & Income
Of course, it shouldn't be all about the dividend. There are plenty of stocks out there that offer alluring yields but have virtually no growth prospects. Those quarterly dividend checks will provide little comfort if the company's stock price is heading off a cliff.

That's why it is wise for investors to consider both growth and income. While stock prices can swing wildly over the short-term, stock prices tend to follow earnings over the long haul.

Long-Term Focus

For investors willing to ride out the short-term volatility and take a long-term approach, stocks look relatively attractive compared with bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is hovering around 1.6%, well below its 50-year average of 6.7%, and less than the average yield of the S&P 500.

And dividend-paying companies with strong cash flows and rising earnings typically raise their payouts, unlike a bond which usually comes with a fixed coupon payment.

I've compiled a list of four stocks with both growth and income characteristics. These companies have a yield greater than 4%, a history of raising their dividends and are expected to grow earnings in both 2012 and 2013.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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