Buying and holding high-quality dividend stocks is one of the best ways for any investor to consistently beat the market over the long term. But while many people focus primarily on stocks with sky-high annual dividend yields, even more important is understanding how each company plans to adjust its future payouts.
Of course, that includes not only being aware of which dividend stocks are at risk of suspending their payouts, but also knowing which companies stand the highest chance of substantially increasing their dividends over time.
Let's focus on the more optimistic side of that equation. Here are two promising dividend stocks whose dividends could double going forward.
The (dividend) future is bright for Universal Display
With its $0.10-per-share quarterly payout equating to an annual yield of just 0.25% at today's share prices, Universal Display (OLED 5.34%) isn't exactly a Dividend Aristocrat. Rather, bullish investors rightly place their focus on the massive growth prospects for Universal Display's flagship organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology, whether it comes from next-generation flexible smartphone displays, rollable and semi-transparent televisions, or novel OLED lighting concepts down the road.
But we should also keep in mind Universal Display has already more than tripled its dividend (albeit from a tiny base) since initiating its payout at $0.03 per share in early 2017. To be sure, management called it a "good place to start" at the time, promising to continue ramping the dividend as Universal Display's business grows.
And grow it has: Adjusted revenue last quarter soared more than 60% year over year, while adjusted net income nearly doubled in the process. Though those results were aided by some pulled-forward orders from Chinese manufacturers amid the current trade war -- a region in which some bearish investors previously feared Universal Display would have trouble imposing its fortress-like OLED patent portfolio -- Universal Display leadership insists the OLED industry as a whole remains in a "very early state."
For investors willing to buy now and collect Universal Display's modest dividend while that growth story plays out, I think much larger quarterly checks will be in the mail in the coming years.
A crystal-clear history of increasing payouts
Meanwhile, investors in glass technologist Corning (GLW -1.89%) are currently enjoying a $0.20-per-share payout that yields roughly 2.9% annually at today's prices. Similar to Universal Display, Corning has already doubled its payout from $0.10 per share in 2014 -- namely through a steady series of increases that can be credited to the success of the company's (soon-to-be-concluded) four-year strategy and capital-allocation plan, which it put into place in late 2015. Under that plan, Corning returned more than $12.5 billion to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases, while simultaneously investing $11 billion toward driving future growth.
But Corning isn't done yet. A few months ago, the company unveiled its new 2020-2023 Strategy and Growth Framework, through which it plans to return another $8 billion to $10 billion to shareholders via dividends and repurchases even as it grows earnings per share by 12% to 15% annually.
That doesn't mean Corning's goals will be easy to achieve. Just last month, the company reduced financial guidance for its two largest segments -- Display Technologies and Optical Communications -- saying customers are purchasing TV panels and implementing optical fiber deployments more cautiously in the face of increasing macroeconomic uncertainty.
Over the longer term, however, each of Corning's businesses remains attractively positioned to capture an outsize slice of their respective markets when today's macro uncertainty wanes. And I think shareholders who buy and hold Corning stock will be rewarded for their patience as Corning's dividend continues to climb.