Commitment is a word often thrown around, but rarely backed up with actions. Salesmen are committed to your needs until you sign on the dotted line - then they are committed to the next unsigned contract. A true measure of character is how committed are you to doing right when the times are hard and you are tempted to go astray? This same test can be applied to companies that pay and increase their dividends.
When the economy is booming and earnings are growing by double-digits, it is easy to increase dividends. But how about when the economy is slipping and margins are being squeezed? During these times you learn which companies are truly committed to their culture of increasing dividends.
Companies that have a reputation as good, solid dividend companies didn't gain this status overnight. It takes years, even decades, to build a relationship of trust with shareholders through increasing dividends. Many of these shareholders rely on dividend payments to provide for their families.
It is important to note, that this relationship is a two way street. Shareholders in top-shelf dividend growth companies are not quick to sell. This was especially noticeable during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The very best dividend growth stocks did not fall nearly as much as stocks cutting their dividends or even the average stock.
This week, I screened my dividend growth stocks database for stocks that have raised their dividends for 50+ consecutive years and have a yield in excess of 2%. The results are presented below:
Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL) is a major consumer products company markets oral, personal and household care and pet nutrition products in more than 200 countries and territories.
Yield: 2.1% | Years of Growth: 51
3M Co. (NYSE:MMM) is a diversified global company provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety & security and other markets via coatings, sealants, adhesives, and other chemical additives.
Yield: 2.4% | Years of Growth: 56
Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) designs and supplies product technology, and delivers engineering services and solutions to a wide range of industrial, commercial and consumer markets around the world.
Yield: 2.6% | Years of Growth: 58
Genuine Parts Co. (NYSE:GPC) is a leading wholesale distributor of automotive replacement parts, industrial parts and supplies, and office products.
Yield: 2.7% | Years of Growth: 58
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is a leader in the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products industries.
Yield: 2.8% | Years of Growth: 52
American States Water Co. (NYSE:AWR) primarily serves water customers in California. It also provides electric service to a small section of San Bernardino County.
Yield: 2.8% | Years of Growth: 61
The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) is a leading consumer products company that markets household and personal care products in more than 180 countries.
Yield: 3.1% | Years of Growth: 56
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is the world's largest soft drink company, KO also has a sizable fruit juice business.
Yield: 3.0% | Years of Growth: 52
Diebold, Inc. (NYSE:DBD) provides ATMs and other self-service transaction systems and security products to the financial, commercial, government and retail markets.
Yield: 3.1% | Years of Growth: 60
Cincinnati Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CINF) is an insurance holding company that primarily markets property and casualty coverage. It also conducts life insurance and asset management operations.
Yield: 3.1% | Years of Growth: 54
Vectren Corp. (NYSE:VVC) is an energy holding company that primarily provides energy delivery services to natural gas and electric customers in Indiana and Ohio.
Yield: 3.6% | Years of Growth: 55
Northwest Natural Gas Co. (NYSE:NWN) is a natural gas utility that provides service to some 621,000 residential, 64,000 commercial and 1,000 industrial customers in Oregon and southwestern Washington.
Yield: 4.2% | Years of Growth: 59
As with past screens, the data presented above is in its raw form. Some of the the companies would be disqualified for poor dividend fundamentals. However some of the others may be worth additional due diligence.
My database, D4L-Data, is an Open Office spreadsheet containing more than 20 columns of information on the 230+ companies that I track. The data is sortable and has built-in buttons and macros to make it easy to use. Companies included in the list are those that have had a history of dividend growth. The D4L-Data spreadsheet is a part of D4L-Premium Services and is updated each Saturday for subscribers.
Full Disclosure: Long CL, MMM, EMR, GPC, JNJ, PG, KO, CINF, NWN in my Dividend Growth Portfolio and long VVC in my High-Yield Portfolio. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.