In a year when American companies piled up record amounts ofcash, the worst stocks were the savers and the best gave the moneyback to investors with dividends and buybacks.

Companies that hoarded cash such as CareFusion Corp., WesternDigital Corp. and 18 other members of the Standard & Poor's 500Index lost an average 15 percent in 2011, according to datacompiled by Bloomberg. The 40 that repurchased the most stock oroffered the biggest dividends climbed 5.7 percent, led by DirecTVand Reynolds American Inc., the data show.

Bulls say gains in companies that returned money will helpunlock almost $1 trillion of cash that chief executive officershave been hoarding for three years. Thomas Lee, the chief U.S.equity strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., says distributionsshould increase 28 percent to $1.1 trillion into next year. Bearssay dividends and buybacks will be insufficient to keep the rallygoing as mandated budget cuts curb growth.

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