The stock market has changed gears in the past few weeks. The high-growth stocks that led the market higher in 2020 have gone through a significant correction. Yet the broader market hasn't given up much ground.
That's largely because market leadership is changing. Dividend stocks are picking up momentum, and investors especially like companies that have consistently boosted their annual payouts to shareholders. Getting more cash in shareholders' pockets has been a top priority for many dividend payers.
Three stocks, in particular, have given shareholders annual increases for 50 straight years or more and just set new record highs. Let's look more closely at these Dividend Kings to see why investors like them so much.
1. Emerson Electric
Emerson Electric (EMR 2.81%) is one of the most impressive dividend stocks of all time. It's raised its dividend in 64 straight years, including a modest 1% rise last November. That brought the stock's dividend yield up to 2.3%.
Emerson concentrates on providing companies in several different industries with ways to automate their business processes. From automakers and energy producers to miners and food and beverage companies, Emerson's clients benefit from the increased efficiency that automation provides.
In recent years, investors had been nervous about Emerson's exposure to the oil and gas industry. However, with crude oil prices rebounding, shareholders have higher hopes that capital spending among customers in that area will pick back up again. That could provide another nice boost for a business that has been a big winner over the long run.
Parker-Hannifin (PH 2.07%) hasn't been quite as generous with its payouts, with a current yield of just 1.2%. However, its dividend streak is just as impressive, with 64 years of annual raises for shareholders counting on dividend income.
Parker-Hannifin is a leading manufacturer of motion and control systems, including systems providing climate control, filtration, electromechanical, and fluid and gas handling. You'll find its industrial clients working in areas such as manufacturing and aerospace.
Investors in the company have been wary of its aerospace exposure recently, given problems with major commercial aircraft models in 2019 and the severe downturn in the airline industry in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with coronavirus vaccines being deployed, shareholders have higher hopes that Parker-Hannifin can benefit from a cyclical rebound.
3. ABM Industries
Finally, ABM Industries (ABM 1.23%) is the short-timer on this list. Its streak of annual dividend increases is "only" 54 years, including a 3% boost in January. The stock's yield is a respectable 1.8%.
ABM's facilities-management business encompasses nearly every aspect of handling clients' building maintenance needs. From janitorial services and landscaping to electric and HVAC systems, ABM provides a one-stop shop for businesses of all kinds looking for efficient handling of their infrastructure.
ABM employs a huge workforce given its relatively small size, and the fact that many businesses have shut down or curtailed in-person work has had a negative impact on ABM's sales in 2020. However, with the pandemic potentially coming under control in 2021, investors are getting more excited about ABM's ability to bounce back and take advantage of an upsurge in in-person industrial and business activity.
Dividend stocks are taking charge
After lagging behind high-growth stocks for a long time, dividend stocks are in the ascendancy. Many investors are discovering the powerful combination of income and growth prospects that the best dividend-paying stocks offer, and that could keep ABM, Parker-Hannifin, and Emerson Electric setting all-time highs for the foreseeable future.