Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Five Dividend Stocks for long-term dividend growth

In Six Dividend Stocks for current income I provided a list of higher yielding dividend stocks, which investors could use for current income. With a high current yield, the stock list could provide a decent stream of dividend income for retired individuals. There lies another problem however.

Most younger investors tend to ignore dividend stocks, which typically are mature, slower growing companies with dependable cashflows a portion of which are distributed back to investors. Younger investors view these dependable income stocks as boring and too slow moving, which don’t have anything better to do with their cashflows but send them back to owners in the form of dividends. Instead these investors prefer investing in growth stocks with high price earnings ratios and high expectations for growth. While most companies that distribute a portion of their profits in the form of dividends realize that double-digit growth cannot last forever, most growth stocks sell at rich valuations, supported by analysts who have perfected the art of predicting high growth rates for decades to come. As soon as the music stops, these growths stocks stumble, dragging investors fortunes with them.

On the other hand the dividend stocks would have kept growing, albeit at a slower pace, and would have kept sending a higher stream of dividend income to shareholders, to be used at their own discretion. Many investors do not realize that unlike capital gains, dividends are real cash that bolsters your return. Dividends have also accounted for 40% of the annual average total returns of the S&P 500 over the past century. A company, which grows its dividend year after year, could end up paying a double-digit yield on cost to long-term investors over time.

Companies that regularly pay dividends impose a discipline on managers to treat cash very carefully and thus make better decisions by adopting projects, which would generally improve the bottom line, without sacrificing return on equity.
Thus dividend stocks, which consistently grow their payments, should be in every investor’s portfolio, irrespective of their age. A stock that regularly grows its distributions provides an inflation proof source of income, which is much more reliable than the Consumer Price Index, on which TIPs (TIP) rely on.

A stock could afford to consistently raise distributions by selling products, which have a strong brand image, and thus are not easily substituted by others. Examples of such companies include Procter & Gamble (PG), Clorox (CLX), Pepsi Co (PEP), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Emerson Electric (EMR).

The Clorox Company (CLX) manufactures and markets a range of consumer products such as bleaches; cleaning products; water-filtration systems and filters; auto-care products; plastic bags, wraps, and containers; Over the past decade the company has managed to boost earnings per share at a rate of 13.60% annually. Clorox has paid uninterrupted dividends increased payments to common shareholders every year for 31 years. Dividends have increased at an average rate of 8.60% annually since 1999. Check my analysis of the The Clorox Company (CLX).

Emerson Electric Co. (EMR), a diversified global technology company, engages in designing and supplying product technology and delivering engineering services to various industrial and commercial, and consumer markets worldwide. The company operates through five segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Appliance and Tools. The company has been able to increase earnings at an average rate of 8.40% annually over the past decade. Emerson Electric Co. has increased payments to stockholders for 52 consecutive years. The ten-year dividend growth rate is 7% per annum over the past decade. Check my analysis of Emerson Electric Co. (EMR).

PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) manufactures, markets, and sells various snacks, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, and foods worldwide. The company manufactures, sells, and distributes Pepsi-cola beverages and is enhancing its distribution channels through its acquisition of key bottlers. The company has been able to increase earnings at an average rate of 9.90% annually over the past decade. PepsiCo has been consistently increasing its dividends for 36 consecutive years. Dividend payments have increased by an average rate of 13.50% annually since 1999. Check my analysis of PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP).

The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), together with its subsidiaries, provides branded consumer goods products worldwide. The company operates in three global business units (GBU): Beauty, Health and Well-Being, and Household Care. The company has been able to increase earnings at an average rate of 12.20% annually over the past decade. Procter & Gamble has been increasing its dividends for the past 53 consecutive years. Dividend payments have increased by an average of 10.90% annually over the past 10 years. Check my analysis of Procter & Gamble (PG).

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. It operates through three segments: Wal-Mart Stores, Sam's Club, and International. The company has managed to deliver an impressive 11.60% average annual increase in its EPS. Wal-Mart Stores has consistently increased dividends every year for 35 years. Dividends have increased at an average rate of 18.90 % annually since 1999. Check my analysis of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT).

While these companies are poised to deliver strong long-term dividend growth, don’t throw caution away. These stocks should be a part of a diversified dividend portfolio with at least 30 components in it.

Full Disclosure: Long CLX, EMR, PEP, PG and WMT

Relevant Articles:

- The Dividend Edge
- The case for dividend investing in retirement
- Clorox (CLX) Dividend Stock Analysis
- Reinvest Dividends Selectively

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