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Realty Income Cements Dividend With ARCT Merger

Tickers in this article: ARCT CVS DG ESRX FDX O PNC WAG

Realty Income, also known as "The Monthly Dividend Company," has a long track record for paying and increasing dividends. In fact, the Encindo-based company is one of just eleven equity REITs that were able to maintain and increase dividends during the Great Recession. This year will mark Realty Income's 19th year in a row and the company will be eligible for inclusion into S&P's Dividend Aristocrat organization next year (companies must have 20 years in a row of increased dividends).

I consider Realty Income to be one of the best REITs around and the increased dividend of $.22 per share (in February) will bump the yield north of 5% -- a safe bet in today's low-interest-rate environment. Realty Income shares hit an all-time high last week of $44.35 while shares closed at $44.04.

The investment-grade-rated (BBB by S&P) REIT has a current market cap of $5.877 billion with a year-over-year total return of 28.4%.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.