Dividend Champions For February 2017

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Includes: AGCO, BPFH, BSRR, CMCSA, DKL, FBIZ, FCCO, FHN, FINL, GABC, HBI, HLAN, HTBK, LLTC, MPLX, NRZ, NXST, PBSK, PSXP, SFBC, SPB, STJ, TEP, TRN, TRUX, TSBK, UNB, WES, WGP
by: David Fish

Summary

CCC universe expands to 788 companies.

Challengers and Near-Challengers each add 22 companies.

Average yields halt decline.

The Dividend Champions spreadsheet and PDF have been updated through 1/31/17 and are available here. Note that all references to Champions mean companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; and Challengers have streaks of 5-9 years. "CCC" refers to the universe of Champions, Contenders and Challengers.

January Thaw

The year 2017 started out in typical fashion, with sparse activity for dividend increases. But then, in mid-month, the floodgates opened and many of the dozens of companies due to boost their payouts began to do so, including many with February Ex-Dividend dates. I expect this trend to continue through March and into April, when the Annual Shareholder meetings "season" gets under way. The next few months, in fact, tend to be the busiest time of year for dividend increases, and that's reflected not only terms of those extending impressive streaks of increases, but also in terms of new Challengers and Near-Challengers. There was one new Champion, Linear Technology (NASDAQ:LLTC), but its status may be fleeting, since it's about to be acquired.

After the CCC universe expanded slightly to finish the year at 768 companies, it jumped to a total of 788 companies at the end of January. The latest month featured 22 new Challengers (plus a reinstatement), 3 deletions and 4 promotions. The Near-Challengers listing also picked up 22 "NEW" notations (in Appendix B on the Notes tab), bringing the number of Near-Challengers to 120, up from 117 last month but still well below the record of 281 companies in September 2014.

After December's action saw the average price of CCC stocks rise by $1.43, that figure dipped by 23¢ in January, although I think that change may be somewhat of an anomaly (due to the large number of new, lower-priced Challengers), since many companies saw price increases. The average "age" of the dividend streaks declined from 13.9 to 13.8 years, the average yield rose from 2.61% to 2.66% and the average of the Most Recent Increases moved from 8.45% to 8.41%.

As always, please use the CCC only as a starting point for more in-depth research. Feel free to leave any suggestions in the Comment section below.

Quick Summary

The Summary tab includes a table comparing the composite numbers from the latest update to those from the previous month and the end of the previous year. Below that is a summary of the latest month's activity in terms of companies added, deleted or promoted. That is reflected below.

Quick Summary:

1/31/17

Champions

Contenders

Challengers

Total

No. of Companies

109

229

450

788

Ave. No. of Years

41.2

15.5

6.2

13.8

Average Price

83.03

72.77

58.41

65.99

Average % Yield

2.35

2.66

2.74

2.66

Ave. MR % Increase

5.90

7.39

10.00

8.41

12/30/16

Champions

Contenders

Challengers

Total

No. of Companies

108

227

433

768

Ave. No. of Years

41.3

15.6

6.2

13.9

Average Price

82.84

72.43

58.82

66.22

Average % Yield

2.33

2.64

2.67

2.61

Ave. MR % Increase

6.02

7.47

10.02

8.45

12/31/15

Champions

Contenders

Challengers

Total

No. of Companies

107

250

396

753

Ave. No. of Years

41.0

14.9

5.8

13.8

Average Price

69.72

63.23

50.28

57.34

Average % Yield

2.76

3.21

3.37

3.23

Ave. MR % Increase

6.76

7.81

11.96

9.44

MR = Most Recent

Additions:

AGCO Corp. (NYSE:AGCO) to Challengers

Boston Private Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:BPFH) to Challengers

Delek Logistics Partners LP (NYSE:DKL) to Challengers

First Business Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ:FBIZ) to Challengers

First Community Corp. (NASDAQ:FCCO) to Challengers

First Horizon National Corp. (NYSE:FHN) to Challengers

German American Bancorp (NASDAQ:GABC) to Challengers

Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE:HBI) to Challengers

Heartland BanCorp (OTCQB:HLAN) to Challengers

Heritage Commerce Corp. (NASDAQ:HTBK) to Challengers

MPLX LP (NYSE:MPLX) to Challengers

New Residential Investment Corp. (NYSE:NRZ) to Challengers

Nexstar Media Group Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST) to Challengers

Phillips 66 Partners LP (NYSE:PSXP) to Challengers

Sierra Bancorp (NASDAQ:BSRR) to Challengers

Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:SFBC) to Challengers

Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SPB) to Challengers

Tallgrass Energy Partners LP (NYSE:TEP) to Challengers

Timberland Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:TSBK) to Challengers

Truxton Corp. (OTCPK:TRUX) to Challengers

Union Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ:UNB) to Challengers

Western Gas Equity Partners LP (NYSE:WGP) to Challengers

Reinstated:

Trinity Industries Inc. (NYSE:TRN) to Challengers

Deletions:

Colony Capital Inc. from Challengers

Poage Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ:PBSK) from Challengers

St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) from Challengers

Promotions:

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) from Challenger to Contender

Finish Line Inc. (The) (NASDAQ:FINL) from Challenger to Contender

Linear Technology Corp. from Contender to Champion

Western Gas Partners LP (NYSE:WES) from Challenger to Contender

(Table by author; may include underlying data from FinViz.com)

Every Picture Tells a Story

As a bonus, I'm inserting one of Chuck Carnevale's F.A.S.T. Graphs below, highlighting one of the companies listed above. When the price line is in the green area, it suggests possible undervaluation.

Disclosure: I am/we are long CMCSA.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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