Start With a High-Quality List of StocksIf you are looking for a higher-quality dividend growth stock, you have to go where they can be found. For me this is my Stock Ideas page. It consists of:
S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats: is designed to measure the performance of S&P 500 index constituents that have followed a policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. These stocks are the best of the best – the blue blood stocks.
Broad Dividend Achievers: is comprised of select US companies with at least ten consecutive years of increasing regular dividends. US companies must be listed on the NYSE, AMEX or NASDAQ. US Companies must have a minimum average daily cash volume of US$500,000 per day for the November and December prior to each Annual Reconstitution Date.
U.S. Dividend Champions: includes companies that had paid higher dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. The list includes some smaller companies not found on the other lists. This list is maintained by The Drip Investing Resource Center and is available on their website in an Excel spreadsheet.
Look For SustainabilityHigh-yield isn't free. There is usually a reason one stock's yield is higher than another and it is normally tied to risk. With all things being equal, the income investor would always select the higher yield stock, but all things are not equal. It is our job to identify what is driving a stocks yield up and determine if we are willing to accept the additional risk. When making this decision some of the things I consider are free cash flow, debt level, business model, among others.
Higher-Yielding Stocks To ConsiderPutting it all together, I have identified 11 stocks that yield at least 4% and have grown their dividends for at least 10 years. They are:
Old Republic Intl (ORI) is an insurance holding company that engages mainly in the general (property and liability), title, and mortgage guaranty and consumer credit indemnity run-off businesses.
- 4.0% Yield
- 32.8% Debt To Total Capital
- 42.5% FCF Payout
- 35 Years of Dividend Growth
Mercury General Corp. (MCY), operating primarily in California, writes a full line of automobile coverage for all classifications of risk.
- 4.1% Yield
- 13.7% Debt To Total Capital
- 67.9% FCF Payout
- 29 Years of Dividend Growth
AT&T Inc. (T) provides telephone and broadband service and holds full ownership of AT&T Mobility.
- 4.5% Yield
- 50.3% Debt To Total Capital
- 72.8% FCF Payout
- 33 Years of Dividend Growth
As note earlier, yield comes with a cost. Each of the above stocks carries some level of additional risk higher than the average Aristocrat, Achiever or Champion. Ideally, we will start building our income portfolios years before we need the income, but if that is not possible, diversifying and focusing on higher quality stocks should help reduce our overall portfolio risk.
Full Disclosure: Long ORI, MCY and T. See a list of all my Dividend Growth Portfolio holdings here.
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