Some companies choose not to pay a dividend because they don’t have the necessary profits to do so. Josh Peters, editor of Morningstar’s DividendInvestor newsletter, said that financial services companies “were huge payers of dividends but they had to cut those dividends, either because they needed to shore up their capital position or because regulators forced them to do it.”

Then there are some tech companies that are sitting on mountains of cash but are loath to relinquish it as dividends. Instead, the money is used to “develop new products by hiring smart people, and putting them at a desk,” comments Peters.

For more information on dividends, visit our dividend ETFs category.

Among the many dividend-paying ETFs available today include these:

  • SPDR S&P Dividend Fund (NYSEArca: SDY)
  • Vanguard Dividend Appreciation (NYSEArca: VIG)
  • PowerShares Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PFM)
  • PowerShares High Yield Equity Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PEY)
  • PowerShares International Dividend Achievers (NYSEArca: PID)
  • WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend (NYSEArca: DLN)
  • First Trust Value Line Dividend (NYSEArca: FVD)
  • Claymore/S&P Global Dividend Opportunity (NYSEArca: LVL)

Max Chen contributed to this article.