In compiling the Dividend Champions list. I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, I can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again. I have modified the Expected Increase series to reflect a more SA-friendly format by separating the Champions (25 or more years of higher dividends), Contenders (10-24 years), and Challengers (5-9 years) into distinct groupings, so please look for the other articles, which I hope will be published about the same time.
A New Year's Delight
As you can see in the table below, all or most of the dividend increases expected by year-end, at least according to the anniversary of their Ex-Dividend Dates, have already been declared. In fact, many increases have already been announced that will be paid in January or February, but there are still plenty of increases to be announced heading into the New Year. The table below coincides with the usual "forward look" of about 11 weeks for this article. Based on last year's announcements, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases between now and the anniversary of the Ex-Dividend Date of their previous increase:
Dividend Champions (25 or more years):
California Water Service
Black Hills Corp.
Archer Daniels Midland
McGraw Hill Financial
MR=Most Recent; LY=Last Year
Not all of the above companies will meet the strict standards of every investor, but some may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. Potential investors should do more research before committing funds.
At the end of December, I'll be adding a column for Total Dividends in 2013 and changing the Dividend Growth Rate calculations to use that column, instead of the 2012 totals. I'll also add a 2013 vs. 2012 column and include that in the Mean Average and Standard Deviation calculations and re-set the Dividend Growth Model to use the latest completed year (2013) to project five years (2014-2018) of dividends.
Heading into 2014, there are now about 175 Near-Challengers, including some that will "graduate" in early 2015. So the prospect of topping 600 CCC companies by late 2014 or early 2015 seems more likely with each passing day. The listing should top 500 in late February or early March, and more than four dozen companies should declared their 10th straight year of increases during the year, so both the Contenders and Challengers listings may top 250 companies by this time next year.
Next week, I will submit an article on the Overdue increases, but since the annual dividend-streak "death watch" is over, I think that particular series of "Dividends in Danger" articles will appear only once every two or three months during most of 2014. Heading into the year's fourth quarter is when the threat of a dividend "freeze" affects those "overdue" companies.