In sports after a player or team scores there is a celebration. Sometimes the celebration is extreme and designed to focus attention on the individual. As a kid growing up in the 70’s and 80’s this behavior was not tolerated. The coaches would say, “Act like you've been there before.” There is something to be said for those that consistently perform at the highest levels, like the Dividend Aristocrats.
The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats is a list of companies that have followed a policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. A quarter of a century is a long time. Once a company has increased its dividend for that period of time, it would think twice before giving up its Aristocrat crown. This is an excellent place to look for potential dividend stocks. Here are five household names to consider:
- McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) is the largest fast-food restaurant company in the world. Its restaurants serve a varied, yet limited, value-priced menu in more than 100 countries around the world. MCD has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1937 and has increased its dividend payments for 32 consecutive years. (Analysis)
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) is the largest retailer in North America. The company operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. It operates through three segments: Wal-Mart Stores, Sam’s Club, and International. WMT has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1973 and has increased its dividend payments for 35 consecutive years. (Analysis)
- Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is engaged in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of a diversified line of healthcare products including: drugs, nutritional products, diabetes monitoring devices and diagnostics. ABT has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1926 and has increased its dividend payments for 37 consecutive years. (Analysis)
- PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) is a global snack and beverage company. The Company manufactures, markets and sells a range of salty, convenient, sweet and grain-based snacks, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages and foods. PEP has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1952 and has increased its dividend payments for 37 consecutive years. (Analysis)
- Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) and its subsidiaries operate as a home improvement retailer in the United States and Canada. The company offers a range of products and services for home decoration, maintenance, repair, remodeling, and property maintenance. LOW has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1961 and has increased its dividend payments for 46 consecutive years. (Analysis)
These companies, and the other companies on the Dividend Aristocrats list, have been there before. As previously noted, I am currently reworking my dividend analysis worksheets to focus on what’s most important in selecting a dividend stock. In the new analysis stocks that have increased their dividends in 15 or more years will earn a Star.
Full Disclosure: Long MCD, WMT, ABT, PEP, LOW. See a list of all my income holdings here.