One way you can add some stability to your portfolio today is by investing in dividend stocks. But you also don't want to settle for just any income stocks. Instead, you should look to add stocks with growing dividend payments, because they'll generate more recurring income for your portfolio over the long term.
Below are three dividend stocks that are not just stable investments, but also have excellent track records of increasing their dividend payments in recent years. And all three also raised their payouts again in July.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) is a top pharmacy retailer that's a household name in the U.S. Its stores are convenient one-stop shops for many people looking to load up on essentials during the coronavirus pandemic. And the company's also moving to make its business even more stable over the long term.
In July, the Illinois-based company announced it was partnering with DoorDash to provide on-demand delivery in some test markets as a way to reach consumers who may be unwilling or unable to go to its stores.
And it's not just convenience; Walgreens also announced in July that in partnership with primary care provider VillageMD, it will be opening up to 700 clinics over the next five years. The two companies first launched a pilot project last year in which just five clinics were initially planned.
The company's willingness to expand and diversify is what makes Walgreens a safe, perhaps even pandemic-proof investment to hold in your portfolio today.
In July, the Dividend Aristocrat announced that it would be increasing its dividend payments for the 45th year in a row. Investors will now be receiving a quarterly dividend of $0.4675, a 2.2% bump up from the $0.4575 it was paying before.
With the increase, the stock is now paying a dividend yield of 4.5% per year -- well above the 2% payout investors can expect from the average S&P 500 stock.
2. J.M. Smucker
J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM) doesn't have as impressive a streak as Walgreens, but the packaged-goods company is doing well, inching ever closer to joining the exclusive Aristocrat club.
On July 21, the Ohio-based company announced it would be increasing its quarterly dividend from $0.88 to $0.90. The 2.3% increase is slightly better than Walgreens' hike, and it's the 19th year in a row that Smucker has boosted its payouts.Currently, investors are earning an annual dividend yield of 3.3% after factoring in the increase.
The stock's proving to be a stable investment to hold in 2020, with business holding up well during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company released its fourth-quarter results June 4, showing net sales up 10% year over year. Management credits the record showing to strong consumer demand amid the pandemic. However, the company remains conservative in its outlook for the new fiscal year, expecting net sales to be down between 1% and 2%.
But consumers' strong demand for Smucker's food products during the pandemic demonstrates how trusted the brand is in the economy and the value it carries. And that makes for a stable, long-term investment over the years, one that's also likely to continue providing your portfolio with a steady stream of income during that time.
3. CP Rail
Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP) provides investors with a great way to diversify outside of U.S.-based stocks. The Canadian railway operator doesn't pay as high a dividend as the other two stocks on this list, but it is bolstering its payouts.
The Alberta-based company announced on July 21 that it would be increasing its dividend payments by nearly 15%, from 0.83 Canadian dollars to CA$0.95. It's only the fifth year in a row that CP's raised its dividend payments, but the growth during that time has been an astounding 171%. In 2016, the company was paying a quarterly dividend of just CA$0.35.Shareholders currently earn a dividend yield of about 1%.
Investing in the railway business is, in effect, betting on the long-term growth of the economy. And regardless of the short-term challenges that the Canadian and U.S. markets face due to COVID-19, over the long term, they will rebound. That's why, despite a difficult second quarter in which CP's revenue declined by 9% and diluted earnings per share fell by 10% from the prior-year period, the company's management remains confident in its long-term trajectory.
Which stock is the best buy today?
Here's a quick look at how all three stocks are doing against the S&P 500 this year:
Only Walgreens is underperforming the index thus far, but for contrarian investors, that could make the stock an appealing buy, especially given its many good initiatives that could drive future growth. It pays the highest yield on this list, and it's also got the best track record for dividend growth.
If you can only pick one stock, I'd go with the top healthcare stock and take advantage of the dip its share price has seen this year. There's a lot to like about Walgreens over the long term -- too much not to believe that its stock will rebound from its recent decline.