NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 05/08/12 -- Dividends have been a major source of investment gains in the market for many years. With interest rates as low as they are currently long term investors have been looking to high yielding dividend stocks as safe havens. In 2012 S&P companies are on pace to pay out a record amount in dividends. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for Dividend paying stocks and provides equity research on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and McDonald's Corporation (NYSE: MCD).
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S&P companies are set to pay out a record of $279 billion in dividends in 2012, up nearly 16 percent from 2011. There are currently more dividend payers on the S&P index then there has been in over a decade. According to S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt 401 of the S&P 500 now pay dividends. "At this point, taxes are my main concern for dividends," Silverblatt wrote last month, noting that dividend taxes could nearly triple next year from the 15 percent today to 43.4 percent next year. "From a planning perspective, this will force corporations to reexamine their return-to-shareholders policy, potentially pulling back on dividend increases and increasing share buybacks."
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Wal-Mart currently offers investors an annual dividend of $1.59, a yield 2.71 percent. Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements have all come together in the company's newest stores, such as the El Paso Walmart, with fast service, a friendly shopping experience and clean stores. The new Walmart features enhanced service and a layout designed to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers.
McDonalds currently offers investors an annual dividend of $2.80, a yield of 2.92 percent. The company announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012, posting higher revenue, operating income and earnings per share over the prior year. McDonald's U.S. generated comparable sales of 8.9% and robust guest traffic through a balanced approach to variety, convenience and value. Europe delivered solid comparable sales growth of 5.0% and operating income growth of 4% (8% in constant currencies) for the quarter.
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