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).
As in the two previous Periodic Tables (available here and here), the X and Y axes are yield and dividend growth rate (DGR). Shading is used to identify stocks that don’t “make the grade” on either yield or DGR. My choices of what “make the grade” are explained below.
I continue to tinker with the format to make these tables useful to the highest number of readers. Please note:
- 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%.
2. High Yield/Low DGR . If a stock’s yield is high, which I define as more than 5%, there is no shading even if the DGR is miniscule. With a high yield, the investor may not care much about the dividend’s growth rate.
3. Low Yield/High DGR. Similarly, some investors may be interested in stocks that have a low current yield but a high rate of dividend growth. For that reason, I did not shade stocks whose lowest DGR is 15% or more.
4. Please use the shadings in the spirit in which they are intended—rough guidelines—not as absolute endorsements or criticisms
- 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.
As usual, thanks go to David Fish for letting me use his outstanding Dividend Champions document (aka CCC) as the source for the data here. This presentation is based on David’s document dated June 30, 2011.
One usually associates “dividend-growth” stocks with lower yields. But 23 stocks in the table have yields of 5% or more and dividend-growth streaks of 10 years or more. For four of these stocks, the lowest annual growth rate has been 5% or more. It is often misleading to characterize stocks as either dividend growth or high yield. Some stocks offer both.
One stock stands out for its combination of current yield and DGR. Novartis (NYSE:NVS) has a current yield of 3.85% and its worst DGR has been 6.3% over 10 years. Its most recent increase (in February) was 18%.
A compilation such as this should only be used as a starting point for investing ideas. Complete due diligence would take many more factors into account. Considerations such as Dividends in Danger or scary valuation metrics need to be considered. Many dividend investors look hard at the payout ratio, and most seek diversification across sectors or industries.