My first two Periodic Tables of Dividend Champions proved popular with readers, several of whom suggested extending the idea to Challengers and Contenders. So this article covers Dividend Contenders, which are stocks that have raised their dividends between 10 and 24 years in a row. As of the end of June, there are 148 Contenders (compared to 100 Champions, those with 25+ year streaks).
- DGR Timeframe. I maintained the change introduced last time of using the lowest DGR from among the 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year DGRs. Because the growth rates from the CCC source document are calculated from data for calendar years 2010 and earlier, I also considered the most recent increase if there has been one in 2011. This is designated by “MR.” Thus, “CRR-1” means that the DGR used was the one-year rate, and that it was the lowest of the five choices. “IBM-MR” means that the most recent increase (2011) was used, and that it was the lowest of the five choices.
- Break Points. I slightly modified the break points between rows and columns. For example, instead of a yield row covering 2.6% - 3.0%, the break is now 2.5% - 2.9%. I think most people start their low-end requirements with a “whole” number like 3.0%, and the new break points place a yield like 3.0% into the “correct” place. That said, note that percentage yields and DGRs have been rounded to one decimal place, so a yield like 2.88% has been rounded to 3.0%.
- Shading. I shade the cells where the least likely stocks of interest reside. Of course, interest will vary from investor to investor and will often be determined on other factors than the two covered here. This is how I chose what to shade:
1. In general, stocks with low yields or low DGRs are shaded. This means stocks with yields under 3% or DGRs under 5%.
- Multiple Increases in a Year. Some companies—especially MLPs and REITs—habitually increase their dividends more than once per year. For these stocks, it could be misleading to place them according to their 2011 increase(s) to date, as the year is not yet complete and more increases may be coming. So their 2011 increase(s) have been disregarded, and their placement is based on the lowest of their 1-, 3-, 5-, or 10-year DGRs. They are called out by “&” as the last symbol in their listing.
- Overdue Increases. Some of these stocks have gone more than a year since their last dividend increase. They are still on the CCC list because their total payouts haven’t frozen or declined in a calendar year yet, but clearly they are on or are approaching endangered-species status in terms of their dividend increase streaks. These are called out by “?” as the last symbol in their listing.