No matter what stage an investor is at in their stock market journey, dividend stocks inevitably become a focus. For some, it’s a focus that lasts a lifetime. For others, their interest is fleeting. In any regard, these holdings play a large role when it comes to how the individual investor deploys their capital.
As you’ll see in some of the examples below, many of these stocks have been big-time winners over the decades. However, those returns inflate even more once the dividend is taken into consideration.
In many cases, a company’s dividend can be fleeting. Many end up needed to cut the dividend because the business environment became too difficult, because a recession occurred or cash flows tightened. In many cases, these companies may not eliminate the dividend. Instead, they may simply reduce the payout or take a couple years off from giving it a raise.
However, nothing is better than owning a stake in a consistent business with great leadership, that gives us a raise each year. Let’s look at seven dividend stocks with more than 50 years of rising dividends:
Procter & Gamble
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 64
Let’s begin this list with the company that has the longest streak of the stocks we chose: P&G (PG).
The company has made its dividend raise a habit at this point, with more than six decades of consecutive increases. Investors can count on the sun rising in the east, setting in the west and Procter & Gamble raising its dividend each year.
Over the years, Procter & Gamble has cemented itself as a staple in the consumer packaged goods business.
The company has found a way into nearly every corner of the consumer’s home. Whether that’s paper towels or toilet paper, baby wipes or diapers, tampons, toothpaste, razor blades, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap — you name it.
These products are essential. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a booming economy or a deep recession. Either way, consumers are still going to use deodorant and brush their teeth. Thus, P&G has raised its dividend for decades on end. Look for that to continue.
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 63
3M Company (MMM) doesn’t lag far beyond Procter & Gamble in the dividend department. Kicking out a 3.1% dividend yield and this one is on income investors’ radar.
This stock has not had the best performance, though. While shares are up nicely from the March 2020 low, they remain about 26% off the all-time high, set in January 2018. The stock was locked in a multi-year downtrend before the novel coronavirus swept around the world.
3M has not been firing on all cylinders, although the industrial and consumer goods company has really turned things around lately.
Analysts expect decent growth, too. Revenue forecasts call for growth of 6.7% and 4% this year and next year, respectively. That’s alongside roughly 10% and 9% earnings growth estimates in those years, respectively.
Shares trade at a reasonable 20 times earnings. That’s not a bad valuation for this type of growth and the dependability that comes with 3M’s dividend. Further, the stock is taking out last year’s high and looks to have some decent momentum on the technical side.
Federal Realty Trust
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 53
Federal Realty (FRT) is one of the most interesting names on this list, in my humble opinion. Over the years, Federal Realty has become one of the most coveted blue-chip REITs in the business.
With more than five decades of consecutive dividend increases, there’s not many companies in the industry that can challenge FRT.
When we run into dividend stocks with this many years of consecutive increases, it can be hard to find a meaty payout. Despite the rebound we’ve seen in the stock price – Federal Realty is up 62% from the 2020 lows – it still has a solid yield of 4.1%.
This diversified real estate player has a proven history of strong operations and dependable income.
To put this stock’s yield in a bit more perspective, FRT hasn’t had a yield north of 3.6% in the past 10 years. That is, until 2020. Given the beating that the REIT space took last year, it looks like a solid opportunity for long-term investors.
Johnson & Johnson
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 58
This company truly has a lot going for it. Not only is J&J (JNJ) a dependable dividend stalwart with almost six decades of consecutive pay increases, it’s a staple in the healthcare sector, too.
With multiple business units within this space, J&J has its patients covered. Whether that’s medical equipment in the hospital or at-home care via Tylenol and Band-Aids, the company’s products are dependable.
The company has a foothold in the pharma space, medical devices and consumer products – all with relatively wide-ranging reach. It’s one reason this stock commands a $432 billion market capitalization.
However, its latest accomplishment may be one of the most commendable. J&J has developed a vaccine for Covid-19. It’s now one of three companies vaccinating against the vaccine here in the U.S., joining Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA).
While the U.S. has tremendous vaccination momentum, the rest of the world isn’t quite there yet. That should pave a nice runway for companies like Johnson & Johnson as its ramps up production.
With that in motion, investors can turn their attention to the company’s next dividend hike – likely due up in April.
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 58
The momentum in the housing market is breathtaking. Low interest rates, supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19, an exodus out of larger cities and rent moratorium have allowed the housing market to boom.
That’s been a major catalyst for home improvement retailers like Lowe’s (LOW). As with J&J, the company is just a few years shy of six consecutive decades of dividend increases. So not only can we count on Lowe’s for solid execution, but we can also expect a bump to the dividend each year.
While revenue growth is stagnating, the earnings growth is there. Analysts expect the bottom line to increase almost 10% this year, followed by an acceleration up to 13.7% growth in 2022.
Unlike many dividend stocks, this name has been enjoying a huge rally over the past year. Shares are fresh off new all-time highs and have surged from the 2020 lows, up about 225%.
Obviously no one expects Lowe’s to repeat that performance in the next 12 months. But it’s shown that there is serious demand for this dividend stalwart, although it now yields just 1.25% after the stock’s run.
I guess that’s the price you pay after a stock has tripled in less than a year.
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 59
It shouldn’t be too surprising to see Coca-Cola (KO) make the list here. The company is a long-held stalwart when it comes to investing. Its slow and steady nature has won the appraise of millions – including Warren Buffett.
While it may not be a high-flying tech stock, Coca-Cola’s consistency over the years has won over many investors. On the verge of 60 consecutive dividend raises will help in that regard.
In fact, because of Coca-Cola stock, the small town of Quincy, Florida, became filled with millionaires. They were busy gobbling up shares of stock during the depression, at the urging of one of the town’s trusted bankers.
This year is setting up as a good one for the company, too. Analysts expect 11.2% revenue growth and almost 10% earnings growth. If Coca-Cola has proven anything – whether it’s a depression in the 1920s or a pandemic in 2020 – it can survive just about anything thrown its way.
Illinois Tool Works
Consecutive annual dividend raises: 57
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of dividend stocks is Illinois Tool Works (ITW). I absolutely love this stock, because it emphasizes just how well investors can do if they’re patient and stick with quality over the long haul.
Shares are up more than 3,200% in the last 30 years and 30,000% in the last 50 years. Granted, those are incredibly long hold times compared to the average investor. However, it emphasizes just how much wealth a great company can produce over several decades.
Not to turn this into a stat-fest, but I think it’s an important reminder of what dividends can do.
If we shift our focus from the stock-price return – such as the returns I mentioned above – to total return, meaning it includes the dividends, then those 30-year and 50-year returns explode to 5,600% and 56,400%, respectively.
Despite all that strength, the company is still going strong. Consensus estimates call for 19.5% earnings growth this year and 9.5% growth next year.
Here’s to the next 50 years of stellar returns.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
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