For the month of December and the entire 2008 calendar year, the dividend paying stocks in the S&P 500 Index outperformed the non-payers on an average return basis. In the month of December the payers returned 4.41% versus the non payers return of 3.88%. For the 12-months of 2008, as the below table notes, both payers and non-payers underperformed the market cap weighted total return of the S&P 500 Index.
Source: Standard & Poor's
Given the magnitude of the market's decline, even outperformance to the index seems little consolation in the market environment experienced in 2008.