Dividend stocks are more popular than ever right now. Seeing your stock price go up is always nice, but getting a cash payment that you can spend or reinvest appeals to investors who want to see concrete evidence of the smart choices they've made with a stock. Today, I want to introduce you to a dividend stock from maybe the most unlikely sector of the market you can think of.
If I mention the steel industry, it probably conjures visions in your head of abandoned industrial zones with decaying mill buildings in Rust Belt cities. The industrial boom that followed World War II was highly profitable for steelmakers, but as changing economic conditions and increasing global competition emerged, the industry went through a huge decline that saw closures of many companies that in today's terms would have seemed too big to fail.
But one company refused to cave in to the decline. Instead, it responded to the huge changes in the economics of steel by doing two things: innovating to make its operations more efficient, and changing the rules of the game to fit its own strengths.
In particular, this company pioneered the use of small "minimills" nearly a half-century ago. That move made the distance between production facilities and the sources where they got their raw materials much smaller. That, in turn, made it easier for the company to stay competitive and to build minimills wherever they were best suited to grab nearby supplies.
The company also was energy conscious even before energy was as big a concern as it is today. By using electric furnaces rather than higher-cost blast furnaces, this company avoids what would o