There is nothing more impressive on the market than overall positive consistency. No greater can this be found than in companies have consecutively raised their dividend rates annually for 50 years or more. They are the cream of the crop businesses that have often managed to integrate themselves into the very fabric of the national economy. For many investors, they have come to symbolize some of the most steady income plays that are fit as the foundation for practically any dividend portfolio.
On top of their enduring legacy as dividend growth investments, the following companies have continued to average a dividend yield in excess of the market average. The S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) is a stock index which follows the common stock prices of 500 publicly traded American companies, as determined by the S&P. It has often been used as a benchmark measure of the market itself. The following companies all currently offer yields in excess of 1.96%, which is the current yield of the S&P 500 as seen in the graphic below. All values were believed to be accurate as of October 9, 2012.
Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG)
Together with its subsidiaries, the Procter & Gamble Company is a leading diversified supplier in the consumer packaged good space. The company operates out of five segments which include Beauty, Grooming, Health Care, Fabric & Home Care, and Baby & Family Care. In 2012, these segments evenly accounted for 22%, 16%, 17%, 26%, and 19% of net earnings respectively. Procter & Gamble currently supports a market capitalization of $189 billion and carries an above average forward P/E ratio of 16.24. The company offers a forward annual dividend yield of 3.2% with a quarterly rate of $0.562. The company maintains a average payout ratio of 58% and has been raising its dividend since 1957.
3M Co. (NYSE:MMM)
3M is a global innovation company with operations in more than 65 counties. The company is a conglomerate operating in five business segments including Consumer & Office, Electronics and Energy, Health Care, Industrial, and Safety & Graphics. Through these segments, 3M has created products varying from tapes, to abrasives, to medical tools, to stationery, to personal protection devices, to optical film solutions, and even to coolant fluids for computers. 3M currently supports a market capitalization of $65 billion and a reasonable forward P/E ratio of 13.58. The company offers a forward annual dividend of 2.5% with a quarterly rate of $0.59. The company maintains a comfortable payout ratio of 37% and has been raising its dividend since 1959.
Genuine Parts Company (GPC)
Genuine Parts Company is business engaged in the distribution of automotive replacement parts, industrial replacement parts, office products, and electrical & electronic materials. The company was founded in 1928 and has since expanded into a large network of over 2,000 operations throughout North America. Genuine Parts Company currently supports a market capitalization of $9.6 billion and a reasonable forward P/E ratio of 14.12. The company offers a forward annual dividend of 3.2% with a quarterly rate of $0.495. The company maintains a respectable payout ratio of 49% and has been raising its dividend since 1957.
Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR)
Operating as a diversified global manufacturing and technology company with operations around the world, Emerson Electric Co. currently has over 235 manufacturing locations and approximately 133,000 employees. The company services industrial, commercial and consumer markets through its business segments of Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. Emerson currently supports a market capitalization of $36 billion and a reasonable forward P/E ratio of 13.32. The company offers a forward annual dividend of 3.3% with a quarterly rate of $0.40. The company maintains an average payout ratio of 47% and has been raising their dividend since 1957.
Dover Corporation (DOV)
Widely embraced for its innovations and services in industrial technology, Dover Corporation is headquartered in Illinois and employs over 35,000 worldwide. The company maintains a heavy focus on innovative equipment and components, specialized systems, and support services through its business segments of Communication Technologies, Energy, Engineered Systems, and Printing & Identification. Dover currently supports a market capitalization of $10.31 billion and a somewhat below average P/E ratio of 10.56. The company offers a forward annual dividend of 2.4% with a quarterly rate of $0.35. The company maintains a very comfortable payout ratio of 27% and has been raising their dividend since 1956.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. 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.