While investors may have a hard time capturing the 30 percent stock market gains from 2013, the dividend train is likely to keep rolling along.
The percentage of companies expected to reward shareholders with dividends should hit a 17-year high in 2014, according to an estimate from Markit. Those in the S&P 500 are projected to pay $352 billion in dividends, after doling out $311.8 billion last year.
Some 422 companies, or 84 percent, of those in the index will participate, marking the highest rate since 1997.
"Dividends continue to be one of the few income-generating alternatives available to investors," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. "Interest rates have risen significantly but are still historically low, with alternative income-producing instruments also low."