9 Stocks That Have Been Paying Uninterrupted Dividends for More Than 68 Years

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Before the late 1950s, most stock investors focused not on capital gains but on dividends. According to Fidelity Viewpoints, "For many years, dividends were the primary reason to invest in the stock market."

Given the terrible payouts on savings accounts and most bonds right now -- 215 stocks in the S&P 500 have a higher yield than a 10-year Treasury bond -- 2011 marked the Great Dividend Resurgence. Of the top 10 most-read articles last year, eight were dividend-focused. Our free report detailing a dozen or so high-yielding stocks, launched late in 2010, has been downloaded nearly half a million times.

And in a happy coincidence, it's good to be a dividend investor again.

Cash in your pocket
Out of the approximately 7,000 companies that report dividend information to S&P Indices, only 101 cut their dividend last year. That figure is down from 145 in 2010, which was down from 804 in 2009. During the year of reckoning (2008), 606 companies reduced their dividends.

Not only are fewer companies cutting payouts, more are increasing them. In February alone, "two dozen" companies have raised their dividends, according to Dow Jones Newswires, bringing the 2012 total number for dividend hikers to almost 60. And we're six weeks in.

3M (NYSE: MMM  ) is one example. On Tuesday, the conglomerate said it would raise its quarterly dividend 7%, marking the 54th straight year it has increased the payout. Big picture, S&P Senior Index Analyst Howard Silverblatt expects dividends to rise a remarkable 11% this year, as my colleague Morgan Housel noted.

That double-digit gain is feasible given that companies are flush with cash. As of late January, U.S. corporations had total cash reserves greater than $2 trillion, "close to a 50-year high in relative terms," wrote Time. Meanwhile, the S&P dividend payout ratio -- dividends paid as a percent of earnings -- is close to an all-time low.

Dividends = discipline
As I've written before, I love companies that have shown a commitment to raising their payouts (I've long owned 3M in my own portfolio). As an owner, you can rely on inflation-beating dividend payments and feel secure in the academic studies showing that dividend-paying companies are better-disciplined stewards of shareholder capital.

That 3M has increased its dividend for more than half a century is impressive. Even more so, the company has paid dividends without a single interruption for more than 95 years, a remarkable streak that is more common than I first thought.

Consider that the nine stocks listed below have all been paying dividends since Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House -- at least -- an awesome consistency that shows a culture of discipline, determination, and stewardship at these firms. (To trot out my favorite dividend one-liner, professor Aswath Damodaran has said "dividends are like getting married; buybacks are like hooking up.")

To evaluate how attractive these stocks are now,I've also included their five-year dividend growth rate -- because dividend growth is at least as important as dividend consistency.


Paying Uninterrupted Dividends Since


Current Yield Higher Than 10-Year Treasury?

5-Year Dividend Growth Rate











Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT  )










Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  )





General Mills





Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI  )





United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  )





Church & Dwight





Dividend growth rate data from MSN Money.

These dividends may not survive another six decades. But when searching for the kinds of income-producing blue chips that will allow you to rest easily, this list is a great place to start. Or to put it more broadly, to find the kinds of stocks that will consistently pay you a good portion of their earnings (or better yet, free cash flow), start with those that have shown a long-standing pattern of that behavior.

In my next column, I'm going to reveal which of these nine stocks I like best for new money. Until then, I encourage you to check out an updated version of the free report I mentioned earlier, which gives the buy thesis for 11 high-yielding dividend stocks. Click here for your copy. managing editor Brian Richards owns shares of 3M and Church & Dwight. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and Abbott Laboratories. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Abbott Laboratories, Coca-Cola, 3M, and Procter & Gamble, and they've recommended creating a diagonal call position in 3M. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy, which is why we tell you all this.

Read/Post Comments (15) | Recommend This Article (210)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 5:40 PM, prginww wrote:

    Love the dividend stocks to put cash,especially the companies that have been around for a very long time...safer than cash...

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 8:57 PM, prginww wrote:

    I would have included a 10th to this list: DUK

    Duke Energy (formerly Duke Power) is in its 85th consecutive year of paying a dividend.

    For more on Duke, see what TMFHousel has to say here:

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 10:48 PM, prginww wrote:

    Shoulda added good old American Electric Power(AEP) current yield 4.8%, ups dividend fairly regularly, has a solid pay-out ratio, oh, and has never missed a qtr in over 100 years

  • Report this Comment On February 12, 2012, at 9:16 PM, prginww wrote:

    An impressive list indeed Brian by virtue of the

    individual companies staying power in covering and raising their dividends.

    As far as the dividend % is concerned it seems paltry in most cited as their performance against

    the S & P is simply miserable.There is then the

    added risk of invested dollar deterioration to fetch the dividend.

    Two cases in point: UTX and JCI.For 2.2 and 2.4 on the yield respectively. Sure, with dividend re-

    investment over a very long "sentence" in these two you're going to win......but button up 'cause

    these are two cold winter stocks.



  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 11:23 AM, prginww wrote:

    Check out NST (NStar) which to the best of my knowledge has paid dividends consistently for over 100 years!

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 12:02 PM, prginww wrote:

    So their dividend went from 2.5% to 2.7% (which is a dividend increase of merely .2%) what's the big deal? There are hundreds of opportunities out there that yield impressively more, T,VGR, CTL, MO to name a few. Compare the 10 year compounded return of Annaly Capital to 3M and see who comes out on top. Even the current $.59 div. on the stock you bought in Feb. 2002 is only around a 3.6% yield.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 12:16 PM, prginww wrote:

    Anyone know the Mutual fund that only buys/holds companies that have increased their dividend in each of the past 10 years a minimum of 10%.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 2:05 PM, prginww wrote:

    @finn321, My point isn't that these are the most incredible yields in the market -- just that they're among the most stable and consistent. Regarding NLY, while the current dividend is massive, it will vary over time. Read this take by my colleague Ilan Moscovitz:

    Best regards,

    Brian Richards

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2012, at 2:07 PM, prginww wrote:

    @ratnest, I wrote about the 10-10 strategy last year. See here (the fund is named w/in the piece):

    Best regards,

    Brian Richards

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2012, at 10:23 AM, prginww wrote:

    Once again the fools are touting the expensive low dividend payers (to jack the price for their own gain?). I agree with finn231 there are hundreds of better opportunities out there that are consistent payers and solid companies. here's a few I'm in with an average return of around 8-9%. GWSVP - 9.21% MONTHLY -- TCAP -9.56% QRTLY -- AINV - 11.11% QRTLY -- FGP 11.36% QRTLY (this one has paid .50 per share for the last 69 quarters) now is a good time to buy it. PNNT - PSEC - VNR - WIN - KCAP - these are just a few. their price will flutuate by the quarter and that makes them viable for great interest every quarter. sometimes you can even make a profit on the sale as well as the dividend, then buy back more shares for the same money when the price drops after the ex date. this article is not the best advice for good investments with solid long term returns. Seriously fools you're supposed to be on our side.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2012, at 12:22 PM, prginww wrote:

    FGP has paid out more in dividends than their cash flow for a couple of years now. Paid dividends since 1994.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2012, at 10:14 AM, prginww wrote:

    Cash flow coverage of the dividend paid is more relevant than dividend payout. Also - a consistent dividend payout does not guarantee that there will not be a dividend cut in the future.

    Of the 9 stocks here - while 6 of them have high quality dividends - 3 of them have low quality dividends. Abbott, Church & Dwight, and Johnson Controls.


  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 10:23 PM, prginww wrote:

    Remember that for income investors these yields are much higher than you can get in fixed income investments such as treasuries or CD s.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2012, at 3:55 PM, prginww wrote:

    Abbott's low-quality dividend? Methinks JackShephard has been hitting the JackDaniels

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2012, at 10:05 PM, prginww wrote:

    The Tortoise has been a Long-Term, Dividend-Growth investor for longer than 45 years. I have found that there is A correlation between the rising annual dividend and the rising price of the underlying stock. Therefore, as investors we win in two ways. I note in the above comments little or no reference to stock price appreciation. That is the other half of Total Return!

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