2011 Dividends: Who’s Paying, Who’s Not?

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Nearly half of the companies in the S&P 500 raised dividend payments so far this year, a 38 percent increase from 2010. At the current level, about 77 percent of the index components, or 393, pay a dividend.

According to Standard & Poor’s Howard Silverblatt, 25 companies raised dividends at least twice this year, with the average dividend-payment increase at 28 percent. Indeed, the average dividend-paying company has a yield of about 2.42 percent.

Telecommunications, utilities, and consumer staples stocks have the largest dividend yields on the S&P 500 , with an average yield north of 3 percent.

While the majority of firms reward investors with dividends, a number of major companies don't. Dividends historically account for more than 40 percent of the total return of the S&P 500 index.

Consider Ford Motor , for example, which has not paid a dividend in five years. Other large companies lacking a dividend include Apple , Google and Amazon.com .

The table below highlights the performance of the biggest dividend and non-dividend payers.

Of the 107 companies not paying a dividend, the 10 largest companies by market cap have posted a return of 0.3 percent year-to-date. This compares to the 10 largest companies paying a dividend, which have a dividend-adjusted return of 7.1 percent.

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