Stocks with rising dividends for 50 years

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Wayne Duggan

There’s no question that dividends can be a powerful part of any long-term investor’s portfolio. There are very few things that are guaranteed in the investing world, but the best dividend stocks always come through for shareholders quarter after quarter.

The biggest concern for investors searching for dividend stocks is that a company will cut its dividend at the first sign of financial hardship. As impressive as is for companies to maintain its dividends through thick and thin, some companies kick dividend reliability up a notch higher.

Remarkably, a handful of blue-chip dividend stocks have an impeccable track record of more than 50 consecutive years of dividend hikes.

That’s right, the Vietnam War, stagflation, two oil booms and busts, the Dot Com Bubble and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression have come and gone, and these five dividend stocks have upped their payouts in each of the last 50 years.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) owns popular brands like Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Band-Aid and Listerine. The dividend stock currently yields 2.6 percent after an incredible 54 consecutive years of dividend hikes.

JNJ stock issued its most recent dividend hike in May, when its quarterly payment climbed from $0.75 to $0.80. In the last 50 years, the S&P 500 has produced a total return of 1,880 percent. In that same time, JNJ’s total return is a staggering 4,800 percent.

In recent years, the dividend stock has shown no signs of slowing down. JNJ’s total return in the last decade is 94 percent, significantly greater than the S&P 500’s return of 70 percent.

The Coca-Cola Co.

Not to be outdone, The Coca-Cola Co. (KO) stock has its own streak of 54 years of consecutive dividend hikes. In addition to Coca-Cola Classic, KO owns 19 other billion-dollar drink brands, including Dasani, Sprite, Powerade and Minute Maid.

KO’s current yield is 3.2 percent, including its most recent quarterly dividend hike from $0.33 to $0.35 in March. KO stock has returned 3,050 percent in the past 50 years and 99 percent in the last 10 years. The company’s remarkable consistency has even caught the eye of Warren Buffett, one of the dividend stock’s largest investors.

Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

When Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) stock upped its quarterly dividend from $0.28 to $0.35 in July, it marked the company’s 53rd consecutive year of higher dividends. Today, LOW yields 1.7 percent.

In the past 50 years, LOW stock has been one of the top performers in the market, producing a total return of 15,980 percent. Over the last decade, the dividend stock has returned 195 percent.

Remarkably, LOW’s net income is down 18 percent in the last decade, but the company has reduced its share count via buyouts by about 5 percent per year in that time.

3M Co.

3M Co. (MMM) was founded 114 years ago, and it has upped its dividend payment for each of the last 58 years. MMM recently upped its dividend from $1.025 to $1.11 in February. The stock currently yields 2.5 percent.

In the past 50 years, MMM stock has produced a total return of 1,760 percent. Even after that impressive run, MMM is one of the top dividend stocks in the market in 2016, up 18 percent year-to-date.

Procter & Gamble Co.

All of the stocks mentioned above have impressive histories of dividend hikes. However, Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) is the only stock among the group that currently has a streak of 60 consecutive years of dividend hikes.

PG is the owner of household brands like Crest, Tide, Pampers, Head & Shoulders and Gillette.

The stock’s most recent dividend hike came in April when it upped its quarterly payment from $0.6629 to $0.6695.

PG has been one of the superstar dividend stocks of the last 50 years and has produced a total return of 2,710 percent in that time.

This article is by Wayne Duggan of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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