Monday, March 7, 2011

Dividend Stocks Showing Investors the money

Investors realize return on investment in the form of dividends, capital gains or a mix of both. Stocks that pay dividends typically deliver on average total long term returns that are characteristic of equities in general. The main characteristic that differentiates dividend paying stocks is that the dividend payment provides some stability in the total returns that investors are expected to receive in a given year. This lowers volatility and ensures that investors generate a relatively predictable return that could be used to fund retirement needs. Investors relying on dividends for their retirement income should also look at companies that regularly grow distributions, as a hedge against inflation.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 20.70% to 36.50 cents/share. This marked the 37th consecutive annual dividend increase for Wal-Mart. The ten year annual dividend growth rate is 17.80% for this dividend aristocrat. Yield: 2.80% (analysis)

Waste Management, Inc. (WM) provides integrated waste management services in North America. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 7.90% to 34 cents/share. This marked the Ninth consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. The five year annual dividend growth rate is 9.50% for this dividend stock. Yield: 3.70% (analysis)

WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL) engages in the delivery and sale of natural gas, and provides energy-related products and services in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 2.60% to 38.75 cents/share. This marked the 35th consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. The ten year annual dividend growth rate is 2% for this dividend champion. Yield: 4%

The Gap, Inc. (GPS) operates as a specialty retailing company. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 12.50% to 11.25 cents/share. This marked the eight consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 2%

National Interstate Corporation (NATL) , through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty property and casualty insurance company in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Cayman Islands. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 12.50% to 9 cents/share. This marked the seventh consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 1.80%

The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (THG) , through its subsidiaries, underwrites personal and commercial property, and casualty insurance coverage in the United States. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 10% to 27.50 cents/share. This marked the seventh consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 2.40%

General Dynamics Corporation (GD) provides business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems, and munitions; shipbuilding design and construction; and information systems, technologies, and services worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 11.90% to 47 cents/share. This marked the twentieth consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 2.50%

Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (TDS), through its subsidiaries, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the United States. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 4.40% to 11.75 cents/share. This marked the 37th consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 1.40%

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ) engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 20% to 9 cents/share. This international dividend achiever has boosted distributions since the year 2000. The stock currently yields only 0.80%.

The positive news is that Wal-Mart (WMT) is fitting my entry criteria after the increased dividend. Over the past decade the largest retailer in the US has increased revenues and profits, while its stock price has remained stagnant. The reason is that investors were too optimistic about Wal-Mart’s prospects in 1999-2000 and it wasn’t until recent years that the stock has become attractively priced. I would consider adding to my position in the stock as funds become available.

Full Disclosure: Long WMT

Relevant Articles:

- Twelve Dividend Stocks Growing Distributions
-Kimberly-Clark (KMB) Dividend Stock Analysis
- Dividend Growth Investing Gets No Respect
- My Entry Criteria for Dividend Stocks

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