The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had gained 0.5% as of 1 p.m. EDT. And the biggest driver of today's Dow action so far was IBM (NYSE:IBM), trading 1.3% higher and adding 16 points to the blue-chip index all by itself. Big Blue is doing this on the back of some exciting news.
I'm talking about IBM's latest dividend announcement, which hit the newswires this morning. The payout of $1.10 per share is scheduled for June 10, raining dividend gold over shareholders of record as of May 9.
What's so exciting about a lousy dividend disclosure? It's all about growing payouts.
This dividend shows a 16% boost from the $0.95 per share level, where IBM's payouts have spent the last four quarters.
In the announcement, IBM bragged a bit about 16 straight years of raised dividend payouts, not to mention an unbroken string of quarterly payments stretching back to 1916.
Consistency is key for income investors. The true value of a great dividend stock isn't always tied to a fantastic yield, and IBM's forward yield of 2.4% is still not amazing. Dow stocks on average offer a 2.6% yield.
But growing those payouts on a regular basis adds some magic to the dividend's total value. IBM is showing a strong commitment to upping the payouts. While there are no sure things in investing, it seems safe to assume the company will continue boosting its dividend for years to come.
The stock has nearly doubled the Dow's return over the last decade even without reinvested dividend checks. Throw in the shareholder-friendly and ever-increasing payouts, and the total return grows by another 37%.
One last detail: IBM's dividend growth just accelerated. This 16% boost is the largest upward leap that company payouts have taken since summer 2010. Four years ago, the payout was lifted from $0.55 to $0.65 per share for an 18% boost. The steady flow of $0.10 increases since then has now been broken by a beefier $0.15 hike.