The wealth-building power of compound interest will never cease to amaze me.
It's a story of patience and attention to detail, where small differences in short timescales add up to massive divergence over decades. In the end, the biggest winners don't always deliver the fattest share-price returns.
Consumer goods titan Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) just reported brilliant second-quarter results. Earnings doubled year over year and easily exceeded analyst targets, showing that there's life in the veteran yet. Shares jumped as much as 4% on the news, setting brand-new 52-week highs. The all-time record of just more than $74 per share is a hair's breadth away. That's the short-term snapshot of P&G's success story, and it's a pretty picture indeed.
But I like the longer view even better. This stock has absolutely crushed its Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) peers in the long run:
And if you thought that chart looked good, you ain't seen nothin' yet. That view doesn't give P&G any credit at all for a generous and rock-solid dividend policy. In fact, the dividends arguably hurt the plain share-price gains, because prices tend to drop in unison with dividend payments as investors adjust to cash flowing out of P&G's balance sheet and into their own pockets.
How nice is this payout poilcy? You be the judge:
That's the stairway to income-investing heaven, if you ask me. As a bonus, the ever-rising payouts, teamed up with the less aggressive share price, produce some stellar yields for investors who buy P&G today.
Just how much of a difference can these payouts really make? I'm glad you asked:
P&G is not the only dividend hero on the Dow. In fact, every single one of the 30 blue-chip components pays dividends today -- and I could tell you a similar story about each one. They do vary in quality, though, and it's hard to match P&G's stellar payout history even in this elite collection.