The 5 Best Performing Dividend Stocks of 2013

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The past 12 months have been among the most fruitful in recent memory as far as markets are concerned. We exit 2013 with major benchmarks sitting near all-time highs after making a handsome bull run for the majority of the year. Along with that bullish sentiment came a number of dividend stocks that were able to outperform the strong return of the S&P 500. Below, we outline the five best performing dividend stocks of 2013.

5. Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) Up 248.6%

2013′s comeback kid is without a doubt Best Buy, as its stock returned a disappointing -11.63% in 2010, -30.04% in 2011 and a dismal -46.47% in 2012. This year’s turnaround has BBY among the top three best performing stocks in the S&P 500. The performance comes after the firm hired a new CEO, Hubert Joly, at the end of 2012. After a shift in strategy, the company was able to make a roaring comeback in 2013, against all odds and analyst estimates. The company maintained a 1.66% yield this year, paying out $0.17/share in each quarter.

BBY

4. Entravision Communication (EVC) Up 251.5%

This small-cap broadcasting services firm got off to a hot start in 2013 and was able to hold its gains after plateauing in July. The Santa Monica, California-based company was also a delight for its dividend investors as it made a regular and special dividend payout earlier this month, adding a little extra income for its shareholders.

EVC

3. Arkansas Best Corporation (ABFS) Up 263.5%

The Fort Smith, Arkansas-based firm had an incredible year as far as its stock is concerned. The firm operates as a freight transportation provider all across the country. A bullish outlook for the firm has been one of the biggest catalysts for its stock, as a number of analysts have continued to raise earnings estimates for the company. ABFS also maintained its rather paltry yield this year, paying out $0.12/share on a quarterly basis.

ABFS

2. Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS) Up 272.6%

Apparently, skincare was a big theme for consumers in 2013, as Nu Skin offers a suite of products dedicated to improving skin health and appearance. There was little that could knock off this 2013 rally, as NUS surged higher for the vast majority of the year. At the same time, the company paid out a quarterly dividend of $0.30/share and has grown that payout for 12 straight years.

NUS

1. Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NXST) Up 393.8%

No stock even came close to the gains this broadcaster hauled in on the year. NXST also upheld the trend of the aforementioned stocks with a relatively low yield, coming in at just 0.92%. It makes sense for low-yielding stocks to exhibit more growth as they are able to retain more of their earnings and put them towards growing the company, while more mature firms pay out more of their capital to investors. It should also be noted that this stock initiated its dividend this year, so it has plenty of room to grow its annual payout as time presses on.

NXST

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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