It's harder than ever for investors to get the income they need from their portfolios. Even as stock prices have been on the rise, a tough environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led many companies to cut back on their dividend payments. Moreover, with interest rates remaining extremely low, there aren't many good alternatives to the stock market for income investors.
Fortunately, there are still some elite companies that investors can rely on for dividend growth even during hard times. Below, we'll look at three stocks that feature impressive dividend track records and are due to boost the amount they pay their shareholders within the next month or so.
Coca-Cola (KO 0.59%) has one of the longest dividend-raising streaks in the stock market. For 58 straight years, the beverage giant has delivered larger dividend payments to its shareholders than it did the year before. Currently, Coca-Cola pays a dividend yield of more than 3.3%, which is well above the average for the market as a whole.
Coca-Cola's business has gone through some difficult times in recent years. The company was relying on its sugary soft drinks for a large part of its history, but the movement toward healthier food and beverage options has forced it to pivot. It's done a good job of broadening its product lines, incorporate sparkling and still water, juices, teas, and other drinks into the mix.
Historically, Coca-Cola hasn't wasted any time getting its annual dividend increase done, with the announcement of its first-quarter payout typically coming in mid- to late February. Based on financial performance and recent practice, it's likely that investors will get just a $0.01 per-share boost in the quarterly payout, bringing it to $0.42 per share. Nevertheless, investors in the beverage giant will take every penny they can get while they hope that Coca-Cola's growth efforts will pay off as well.
In the retail space, Walmart (WMT 1.97%) has been a longtime champion. The company has grown immensely over the decades, playing a commanding role with its extensive footprint of store locations. It's also become a popular choice for income investors, as it has put together a streak of 47 consecutive increases in its annual dividend payments.
Many mature businesses end up emphasizing dividends more than growth, but Walmart has been an exception lately. The stock has doubled in the past four years as the business has built up an increasingly robust set of e-commerce capabilities to stand up to competition from Amazon.com (AMZN 3.66%) and used its store network to its advantage as it makes headway with its distribution strategy. Those strategic moves have kept Walmart relevant in an increasingly digital world.
Walmart almost always announces its dividend increases in the first quarter, with announcements typically coming in late February. Shareholders can likely expect another $0.01 per-share boost, which is what they've gotten in recent years. The resulting $0.55 per share dividend payout will represent a somewhat stingy yield of around 1.6%, but the stock's total return has been more than ample.
Last up, Albemarle (ALB 6.22%) has been at the forefront of a new trend, but it has a long history of treating shareholders right. Rising dividends have been on the menu for 26 straight years, making it a recent addition to the Dividend Aristocrat list.
Albemarle is a specialty chemicals producer, but its lithium business is what's been getting the most attention lately. Demand for battery storage has dramatically boosted the need for lithium, and that's turned Albemarle into a much-followed company. Yet Albemarle has run into disruptions as a result of the pandemic, hurting its recent results.
Investors will be watching closely in the coming weeks to see what Albemarle does with its dividend. Typically, the chemical company makes an announcement during the last week of February, and a rise to around $0.40 per share quarterly would be consistent with past practice. That would give Albemarle only a 1% yield but plenty of growth prospects to go with it.
Watch for bigger dividend checks
It's important to get the income you need from your portfolio. Strong dividend stocks can let you meet your cash needs, and Albemarle, Walmart, and Coca-Cola all have a mix of solid income and growth prospects to help you both now and in the future.