Thursday, December 29, 2011

Aristocrats, Champions, and Achievers

I have to apologize, this post should have been one of my first ones but I got wrapped up in talking about other things and analyzing specific stocks. Hopefully many of you knew of the following lists, but for those of you just starting in dividend growth investing the following links are a valuable research tool.

Our main goal is to find stocks that not only pay a dividend every year, but also raise their dividend each year.  There are a few official lists that keep track of this information for us.  Each of these is a great place to start looking for potential investment ideas.  Of course, just because a stock is on one of these lists does not mean its a good buy.

Dividend Aristocrats - The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index is designed to measure the performance of large cap, blue chip companies within the S&P 500 that have followed a managed-dividends policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 25 years.  These are the cream of the crop for dividend paying stocks. Some of the more recognizable names are:

3M Co. (MMM
Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
Clorox Co (CLX
Coca-Cola Co (KO
Exxon (XOM
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ
McDonald’s Corp (MCD)
Procter & Gamble (PG
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT

Dividend Champions - The initial goal for this list was to identify companies that had increased their dividend for at least 25 consecutive years, but the definition was broadened to include additional companies that had paid higher dividends without having increased the quarterly payout in every calendar year. Here are a few Dividend Champions that are not Aristocrats.

Altria Group (MO)
Bowl America (BWL-A)
Community Trust Bancorp (CTBI)
Nucor Corporation (NUE)

Dividend Achievers - The Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index is comprised of companies incorporated in the United States or its territories, trade on the NYSE, NASDAQ or AMEX, and have increased their annual regular dividend payments for the last ten or more consecutive years.  You can find potential up-and-coming dividend stars in this list. Here are some Achievers that are neither Aristocrats or Champions.

Church & Dwight (CHD)
ConocoPhillips (COP)
General Dynamics (GD)
Meredith Corp (MDP)

Now our job is to find out which ones are buys at their current valuation.

Disclosure:  I am long ABT, WMT, COP.

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