10 Challengers in the Dividend Sweet Spot

by: The Dividend Pig

A dividend yield of 2-5% is often considered the "sweet spot" of dividend growth investing. It is within these boundaries that the right combination of dividend growth and yield is found; the magic mix that will lead to substantial accumulation of wealth over time.

Here, many of the world's top dividend paying companies live. Names like Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) all consistently maintain yields between 2-5%. This yield window helps protect the stock price from large dips, as too low a price would send the yield through the roof, and the stock would get snatched up by smart investors. If, for example, KO was ever yielding 6-8%, I'm pretty sure Warren Buffett would buy the whole company.

The object is to get into these businesses early, so as to be one of the blessed shareholders who will experience 25+ years of consistent dividend growth. A simple way to accomplish this is to pay attention to the Dividend Challengers, a subset of the Dividend Champions list. These companies have five to nine years of consistent dividend increases, and many are great companies with wide moats. By choosing wisely, we can ride the wave of increasing dividends well into retirement.

Here are 10 Dividend Challenger companies with dividend yields between 2-5% and strong dividend growth.

1. Auburn National Bancorp (NASDAQ:AUBN) is a bank holding company controlling AuburnBank (the Bank), an Alabama state member bank. The ocmpany's business is conducted primarily through the Bank and its subsidiaries.
5-year dividend growth rate - 6.1%
Years dividend growth - 9
Yield - 4.02%

2. Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB), together with its subsidiaries, is a manufacturer and marketer of convenience food products. The company operates in four segments: U.S. Soup, Sauces and Beverages; Baking and Snacking; International Soup, Sauces and Beverages; and North America Foodservice.
5-year dividend growth rate - 9.8%
Years dividend growth - 7
Yield - 3.38%

3. Acme United Corp. (NYSEMKT:ACU) is a supplier of cutting, measuring and safety products to the school, home, office, hardware and industrial markets. The company’s operations are in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
5-year dividend growth rate - 16.1%
Years dividend growth - 7
Yield - 2.53%

4. Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) operates full-service restaurant. As of May 30, 2010, the company operated through subsidiaries 1,824 restaurants in the United States and Canada. Darden owns such names as Red Lobter, Olive Garden, and The Capital Grille.
5-year dividend growth rate - 36.6%
Years dividend growth - 6
Yield - 2.72%

5. Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) is a producer and marketer of bakery products in the United States. The company consists of two segments: Direct-store-delivery and warehouse delivery. Brands include Nature's Own and Sunbeam.
5-year dividend growth rate - 24.8%
Years dividend growth - 9
Yield - 3.07%

6. HJ Heinz (HNZ), together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in manufacturing and marketing a range of food products globally. The company’s principal products include ketchup, condiments and sauces, frozen food, soups, beans and pasta meals, infant nutrition and other food products. Anyone who has ever eaten ketchup knows the Heinz name, as it has quite a moat there.
5-year dividend growth rate - 8.3%
Years dividend growth - 6
Yield - 3.61%

7. Intel Corp (NASDAQ:INTC) is a semiconductor chip maker company. The company develops advanced integrated digital technology products, primarily integrated circuits, for industries, such as computing and communications.
5-year dividend growth rate - 14.5%
Years dividend growth - 8
Yield - 3.49%

8. Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) is engaged in providing children’s and family leisure time products and services with a portfolio of brands and entertainment properties, including a range of toys, games and licensed products.
5-year dividend growth rate - 23.5%
Years dividend growth - 7
Yield - 2.56%

9. LockHeed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is a global security company engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems and products.
5-year dividend growth rate - 20.2%
Years dividend growth - 8
Yield - 3.73%

10. Republic Services Inc. (NYSE:RSG) is a provider of services in the domestic non-hazardous solid waste industry. The company provides non-hazardous solid waste collection services for commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers.
5-year dividend growth rate - 18.2%
Years dividend growth - 8
Yield - 2.69%

Disclosure: I am long MCD, KO, JNJ, INTC.

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