In February 3M (NYSE:MMM) increased its dividends by 2%, which marked the 51st consecutive increase for this diversified technology company. The stock currently yields 4.30%. (analysis)
Abott Laboratories (NYSE: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%. (analysis)
Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) increased its quarterly dividend from $0.13 to $0.14/share, which marked the 34th consecutive increase for this agricultural commodities and products company. The stock currently yields 2.00%. (analysis)
Chubb Corp (NYSE:CB), which provides property and casualty insurance to businesses and individuals, announced that its Board has approved a 6.10% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.33 to $0.35 per common share. CB has consistently increased its dividends for forty-four consecutive years. The stock currently yields 3.30%. (analysis)
Coca-Cola (NYSE: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 world’s best-known consumer brands has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for 47 years. The stock currently yields 3.50%. (analysis)
Integrys Energy (NYSE:TEG), which operates as a regulated electric and natural gas utility company 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%.
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB), which engages in the manufacture and marketing of health and hygiene products worldwide, announced that its Board has approved a 3.40% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.58 to $0.60 per share. KMB has consistently increased its dividends for thirty-seven consecutive years. The stock currently yields 5.00%. (analysis)
Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) increased its dividends by 2.90%, which marked the 27th consecutive increase for this provider of mail processing equipment and integrated mail solutions. The stock currently yields 6.00%.
Sherwin-Williams (NYSE: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 stock currently yields 3.10%. (analysis)
Sigma- Aldrich (NASDAQ:SIAL) increased its dividends to $0.145 from $0.13, which marked the 33th consecutive increase for this specialty chemicals company. The stock currently yields 1.70%.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), which operates the largest chain of retail stores in various formats worldwide, announced that its Board has approved a 15% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.2725 per share. Wal-Mart has consistently increased its dividends for thirty-five consecutive years. The stock currently yields 1.90%. (analysis)
On the other hand only five have cut their dividends so far in 2009:
General Electric (GE)
State Street (STT)
US Bancorp (USB)
The changes in the Dividend Aristocrat index should be expected and they are a natural process that occurs even in normal years. In 1989, the number of companies in the index was only 26. Only 7 of the original companies still remain in the index. The companies are: DOV, EMR, JNJ, KO, LOW, MMM and PG. The percentage of companies that remain in the index after 10 years is about 35%. There have been about 116 companies that have gone through the index for the 15-year period form 1989 to 2004. The average company stayed 6.5 years in the S&P Dividend Aristocrats index from the time of its addition. So as a dividend investor, you should expect year over year changes in the index.
I believe that the Dividend Aristocrats above are still showing a confidence in future cash flows by raising their dividends to shareholders even in the toughest crisis since the Great Depression. Only a company, which has a business model that allows it to generate increasing streams of cash, could support a long streak of dividend raises to stockholders. That’s why dividend investors should ignore the fear of dividend cuts from cyclical companies and instead focus on a diversified list of stocks from a variety of sectors with long track records of dividend increases until the current storm passes.
Full Disclosure: Long ED, FDO, MHP, KO, ADM, MMM, SHW, WMT, KMB,
Dividend Growth Investor
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