Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The ten year dividend growth requirement
After my post when to break your rules, some readers asked me whether it is reasonable to enter into a dividend investment, which has not raised dividends for more than 10 years in row.
The truth is that dividend investing should require intense scrutinizing of companies, in order to find the best stocks for ones portfolio. Otherwise, investors could end up getting whipsawed in and out of stocks, which would increase trading costs and would make them less likely to reach their goals. The reason behind requiring at least a decade of consistent dividend growth is to weed out all companies which are inconsistent in their dividend policies. Few companies which raise distributions for less than a decade end up on the dividend achievers list. In fact of the total universe of 10,000 US publicly traded stocks, less than 300 are included in the achievers list.
The best dividend stocks are typically characterized by having a strong durable competitive advantage, which allows them to grow earnings and increase dividends on an annual basis. A company which raised dividends for only a few years could have achieved that because it simply got lucky by being at the right place at the right economic cycle. Once the economic expansion or trend which boosted the company’s profitability ends, the company’s earnings would stop growing or worse could start declining. This is another major reason to avoid dividend growers with less than a decade of distribution raises.
That being said I do have several stocks on my watch list, which I would be happy to consider for inclusion in my dividend portfolio once the following characteristics are met:
1) Raising dividends for at least 10 consecutive years
2) Trading at no more than 20 times earnings
3) Having an adequately covered dividend payout ratio (or for REITs and MLPs a distribution payout ratio which is consistent with the ratio of the past few years)
4) Yielding at least 3%
The companies which one day could become dividend achievers that I am watching include:
Kellogg Company (K), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and marketing of ready-to-eat cereal and convenience foods. Kellogg Company is a former dividend aristocrat, which has fought back to regain its status of a dividend growth stock since 2005. The stock currently yields 3.10%
General Mills (GIS) engages in the manufacture and marketing of branded consumer foods worldwide. General Mills has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the past six consecutive years. The stock currently yields 2.80%.
Microsoft (MSFT) provides software and hardware products and solutions worldwide. Although the company has raised its annual dividend since 2003, over the past quarters the dividend has been flat.
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets packaged food products and grocery products worldwide. The company has consistently raised dividends since it went public in 2001. In early September 2009 the company announced that it has would leave its current dividend payment of $0.29/share unchanged for the fifth consecutive quarter.
This post was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance - Women in History Edition
Full Disclosure: None
- What are your dividend investing goals?
- Kraft Foods freezes dividends
- Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) – an island of stability for dividend investors
- Using DRIPs for faster compounding of dividends
As we all know, the stock market is at an all time high. That is despite the fact that earnings for the US corporations have been flat for ...
As part of my portfolio monitoring process , I evaluate the list of dividend increases every week. It is helpful to monitor how my investmen...
The ultimate goals of everyone reading this site is to retire wealthy and to stay retired. Financial independence provides flexibility, fre...
Right now, many investors are sitting on huge unrealized gains in the companies they have bought years ago. I am in those shoes too. However...
Many of you are aware that I have been a big fan of tax-deferred investing over the past three – four years. After my awakening moment in l...
After observing market behavior for 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that many investors do not have a clue about how to make money i...
It seems like international investing is all the rage these days. It seems like everywhere I look, someone is recommending investors to add ...
I do not like it, when my dividend paying companies are acquisition targets. Last week, shares of Hershey (HSY) increased to an all-time ...
General Mills, Inc. (GIS) manufactures and markets branded consumer foods in the United States and internationally. It also supplies branded...
Last week I shared with you a list of nine dividend champions , which I believed were attractively valued. Today I am sharing with you a few...