The first decade of the 21st century turned out to be less than stellar for many investors. The S&P 500 index, which had quadrupled during the 1990s, finished the decade down 24%. However, dividend investors managed to turn in a respectable performance despite the market’s turbulence. The current list of Dividend Aristocrats stocks delivered an average 104% total return for the decade. Doubling your money over a 10-year period is not bad when you consider the overall market declined 24% during the same time.
While the dividend aristocrat stocks performed well overall, simply investing in only one single dividend stock (even a dividend aristocrat) could have hurt your returns. A recent eDividendStocks.com report shows the importance of portfolio diversification by identifying six dividend aristocrat losers from the last decade:
Century Tel (NYSE:CTL)
This telecom stock currently offers investors an impressive 8% dividend yield and is the highest yielding member of the dividend aristocrats. However, their stock price languished over the last decade. Even taking into account dividend payments, investors who bought this stock at the beginning of 2000 would have had a total 10-year return of -7%.
Cintas shares took a roller-coaster ride during 2000-2003, but have been trending downwards ever since. The uniform manufacturer does offer investors a 2% dividend yield and has a solid dividend track record going back to 1983. However, investors received a total return of -19% over the last decade.
Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY)
Investors who have owned Eli Lilly stock over the last decade have lost nearly a third of their portfolio value even when accounting for dividend payments. The stock delivered a -29% return during the last decade that even underperformed the 24% decline in the S&P 500. Eli Lilly still offers investors a 5.8% dividend yield, but concerns persist about the company’s product pipeline.
Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI)
With an impressive 6.5% dividend yield and solid earnings growth expect over the next few years, you would think that Pitney Bowes was the perfect buy-and-hold stock. However, investors that bought at the beginning of 2000 saw a forgettable -34% as the company’s stock price has been in decline since early 2007.
From May 2007 – November 2008, Supervalu stock price fell 75% and absolutely destroyed the returns for long-term investors. The grocery retailer still offers a 2.3% dividend yield and a solid dividend history, but investors remain wary of the continued revenue declines.
Probably the most surprising dividend aristocrat loser of the last decade is Walmart. The world’s largest retailer currently offers investors a 2% dividend yield, but long-term investors experienced a -13% total return over the last 10 years. Of course to be fair, investors that owned Walmart shares in the previous decade of the 1990s earned a whopping 1203% return.
Disclosure: No Positions