I'm not quite 30 yet. I'm still holding on to that last bit of college youth I had many years ago.
Nevertheless, much has happened since the early 1980s. The country has had 4 recessions - The early 1980s and the Iranian Revolution, the early 1990s and oil price shock, the early 2000s with the tech bubble, and then of course the Great Recession, which we are technically "past" - but has had an enduring effect on employment, GDP growth, interest rates, and of course, the latest political turmoil with the debt ceiling.
Many companies can raise dividends for 5 years, or even 10 years. But only a select few can break the 20 year barrier, and even fewer the 30. Here is a list of 7 companies that started raising dividends in the 1970s, and haven't stopped yet.
Mine Safety Appliances (NYSE:MSA) is engaged in the development, manufacture and supply of products that protect people’s health and safety. The company’s line of safety products is used by workers around the world in the fire service, homeland security, oil and gas, construction, and other industries, as well as the military.
The stock is about 20% off its 52 week high of $40.91, and currently trades at $32.66. MSA has raised their dividend consistently since 1972, with the most recent raise coming this past May, when the quarterly dividend increased 4% to $0.26 a share. 5 year average dividend growth is 5.5%, and the stock yields 3.2%
W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW) is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operating supplies and other related products and services used by businesses and institutions primarily in the United States and Canada.
The stock has slid about 11% in the past month, even though the most recent quarterly earnings statement was relatively upbeat. Increasing dividends since 1972, the stock yields 1.9% at the current price of $142.78, with a 5 year average dividend growth of an impressive 17%.
RPM International (NYSE:RPM) manufactures, markets and sells various specialty chemical product lines, including specialty paints, protective coatings, roofing systems, sealants and adhesives.
Down about 18% in the past 3 months, RPM has a great entry yield at 4.4%, and has raised dividends since 1975, though dividend growth has been a bit slow, with 5 year average growth of just 5%. A portfolio of strong brands (Rustoleum, DAP) should keep the company moving forward in the decidedly un-sexy world of sealants and coatings. The fourth quarter 2011 earnings release was positive, and they are expecting sales growth of 8-10% in 2012.
The McGraw Hill Companies (MHP) is a global information services provider serving the financial, education and business information markets, such as energy, automotive, construction, aerospace and defense, broadcasting and marketing/research information services.
The stock has been on an uptrend since late 2010, and at $43.20 is above the 200 day moving average. Increasing dividends since 1974, the stock currently yields 2.3% on a quarterly dividend rate of $0.25 a share ($1.00 annually). 5 year average growth is sluggish at 5%, but the company has a huge moat as one of the worlds largest publishing companies. Sales are expected to increase in the next few years, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some trouble from the education sector, about 40% of their business but one that may shrink as school budgets are cut.
Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM) is principally engaged in procuring, transporting, storing, processing, and merchandising agricultural commodities and products.
The stock is down about 25% this year, and at the current price of $28.05 yields 2.3%. After raising the dividend habitually since 1976, growth pace is strong, averaging 10% a year for the past 5 years, with a current annual rate of $0.64 a share. The food business is pretty stable, and I expect similar performance for the next few years.
WGL Holdings (NYSE:WGL) is a holding company, through its subsidiaries, sells and delivers natural gas and provides a range of energy-related products and services to customers in the District of Columbia and the surrounding metropolitan areas in Maryland and Virginia.
A high entry yield of 4.1% is enticing, especially with uninterrupted dividend growth since 1977. But the 5 year average growth is comatose at only 2.97%, though this should not be surprising since WGL is essentially a utility company. The stock has been bouncing around between low to high 30's in the past couple of months, and the current price is $37.86. Lots of safety here, but not much growth.
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is a medical technology company engaged in research, design, manufacture and sale of products to alleviate pain, restore health and extend life. It manufactures and sells device-based medical therapies.
A 3 month slide has brought the price down 24% to $32.84, where it sports a 2.9% yield. The dividend has been raised consistently since 1978, and the current annual payout of $0.90 is an increase of 9.8% from last year. 5 year average growth is a whopping 19.6%, far outpacing any inflation (or lack thereof). With a yield of 3% and dividend growth of almost 20%, the p/e of 11.5 seems fair.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.