Monday, February 23, 2009

Dividend Aristocrats Strike Back

In a week that saw major US indexes fall to fresh multi year lows, there is a group of investors who still remain optimistic. No, this is not a scam touting penny stocks that would bring instant riches. It’s also not a post about some computerized technical analysis program that will turn stones into diamonds.
The strategy is called dividend growth investing, and it is the fundamental way of picking shareholder friendly stocks, which reward their owners with an increasing stream of dividend income. Some of the best dividend stocks are included in the Dividend Aristocrats index, which has outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 5, 3 and one years. Despite some setbacks in 2009 like the cuts from Pfizer (PFE) and State Street (STT), the number of solid companies increasing dividends keeps rising.

The Sherwin-Williams Company (SHW), which engages in the development, manufacture, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings, and related products, boosted its dividends for the thirty first consecutive year. The new dividend increase was rather modest, from 0.35 to 0.355/share and much smaller than the ten year average. Given the tough housing market however, I consider this dividend increase at a time when CEO’s are cutting dividends to preserve cash for projects that won’t yield much, a big dedication to long-term shareholders. The stock currently yields 3.10%. Check out my analysis of SHW.

Integrys Energy Group (TEG), which operates as a regulated electric and natural gas utility company in the United States and Canada, increased its quarterly dividends payment to $0.68/share, which marked the fifty first consecutive year of increased payouts. This utility company currently yields 7.00%.

Coca Cola (KO), which engages in the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups worldwide, raised its quarterly dividend by 8% from $0.38 to $0.41 per common share. The company behind one of the worlds best known consumer brands has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for 47 years. One of Coke’s most prominent shareholders includes Warren Buffett, who owns 200 million shares his favorite soft drinks manufacturer. The stock currently yields 3.50%. Check out my analysis of Coke and Pepsi.

Abbott (ABT), which engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of health care products worldwide, increased the company's quarterly common dividend 11% to $0.40 per share. This marked the company’s 37th year of consecutive dividend increases. The stock currently yields 2.60%. Check out my analysis of ABT.

Albemarle Corporation (ALB) raised its quarterly dividend payments by 4.20% to $0.125/share. The company is a dividend achiever, which has increased its dividends for 14 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 2.40%.

ITT Corporation (ITT) raised its quarterly dividends by 22% to $0.2125/share. The stock currently yields 1.70%.

The Andersons, Inc. (ANDE) raised its quarterly dividends by 3% to 0.0875/share. The stock currently yields 2.40%.

Rogers Communications (RCI) increased the annual dividend rate from $1.00 to $1.16 per share. The stock currently yields 4.70%.

Comcast (CMCSA) raised their dividend 8% to $0.0675 per share quarterly. The stock currently yields 2.10%.

XTO Energy (XTO) increased its quarterly cash dividend by 4.20% to 12.5 cents per share. the stock currently yields 1.605.

Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG) announced a 3.1% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.3225 to $0.3325 per share. This utility stock currently yields 4.50%.

Tim Hortons Inc.(THI) boosted its quarterly dividend by 11.1% to $0.10. The stock currently yields 1.30%.

Full Disclosure: Long SHW and KO

Relevant Articles:

- Dividend Aristocrats List for 2009
-Cola Wars - Coke versus Pepsi
- Why do I like Dividend Aristocrats?
- Taking Stock in Coca-Cola (KO):

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