Strong dividend yields are nice. A stock dividend that doesn't even keep pace with inflation isn't much use. But just as important (if not more important) to income-minded investors is a stock's dividend payout growth rate. The longer the intended holding period, the more that consistent growth matters.
To this end, here's a look at three stocks that not only sport healthy dividend yields but are ramping up their payouts at a surprisingly brisk pace. If you're willing and able to hold them long enough, you may even see your per-share payouts double their current levels.
1. Texas Instruments
Dividend yield: 2.2%
5-year dividend growth rate: 20%
Technology name Texas Instruments (TXN -0.81%) typically isn't bought as an income holding, but that doesn't mean it's not up for the job. Its current yield of 2.2% is stronger than the S&P 500's average of 1.4%, and the company's upping its payouts a lot faster than most other outfits.
Best of all, Texas Instruments can afford its quarterly dividend payments. Despite last year's challenges linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the company managed to grow its top and bottom lines, earning $5.97 per share versus 2020 per-share dividend payments totaling $3.72.
Last year's unlikely fiscal progress reflects the always-marketable nature of Texas Instruments' product line.
Whereas technology companies like Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and NVIDIA are locked in a perpetual -- and cyclical -- computer processor competition that requires a massive amount of research and development funding, TI's core markets include all the other semiconductors soldered to those same motherboards, plus sensors, audio components, wireless connectivity solutions, and more.
These things rarely wow manufacturers or consumers. Indeed, they're downright boring. That's the point, though. Texas Instruments supplies at least some technological components for most everything consumers or corporations purchase year in and year out. Printers, lighting equipment, data collection hardware, medical devices, television sets, home appliances, grid-management solutions, broadband networks, and digital signage are just some of the wares TI has a hand in making.
Dividend yield: 2%
5-year dividend growth rate: 11.4%
Much like Texas Instruments' product lines, Kroger (KR -0.34%) is a boring name as well. Even with last year's pandemic-driven sales surge, groceries are just groceries. Food is never going to be a growth industry. Further deflating the bullish case is that the Kroger company is expected to see a slight sales decline in 2021 as the proliferation of COVID-19 vaccines eases the United States back toward normal. Per-share profits are projected to slide from 2020's $3.47 to $2.84.
Don't let this year's fiscal lull or the low-margin, slow-growth nature of its business model mislead you, however. While Walmart technically sells more groceries, as the nation's biggest dedicated grocery store chain, Kroger's typical yearly profits on the order of $2 billion let the company innovate in ways its peers just can't. One example of these sales-driving innovations is the aerial drone delivery tests Kroger began performing earlier this month. The grocer's experiment mirrors similar drone delivery efforts being made by Amazon and Walmart.
Kroger isn't delving into drones simply to say it can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its chief rivals, though. This company is focused on building value for shareholders and finding new ways (like drones) to do so. Creating more value for stakeholders has not only been a priority since 2018 but the company's overhaul since then has also been steered by answers to questions of how to create more shareholder value.
These little things can matter in a big way.
3. Franklin Resources
Dividend yield: 3.4%
5-year dividend growth rate: 9.2%
Finally, add Franklin Resources (BEN 0.72%) to your list of dividend stocks that could double their current quarterly payments in relatively short order.
If you're not familiar, Franklin Resources is a mutual fund management company. You may know it better as Franklin Templeton, although it also owns Legg Mason. As of the latest look the company's collectively tending to a little over $1.5 trillion worth of investors' money.
The fund management model is just about perfect for funding reliable dividend payments.
See, mutual fund companies charge a fixed percentage of investors' total positions in their funds regardless of how well or how poorly the market (or the fund's manager) is performing. While this recurring fee is relatively small, it doesn't cost a whole lot more to manage $1 trillion than it does to manage $1 billion, which doesn't cost much more than managing a mere million bucks. More scale, therefore, allows for disproportionately stronger profitability. The "trick" is simply getting people on board in the first place and keeping them there once they are, which Franklin has proven it can.
Be aware that the market environment may try to discourage you from stepping into Franklin Resources. Analysts collectively rate it slightly below a hold, and the stock's present price near $33.60 is actually above the consensus price target around $31.30. Following last quarter's sales and earnings beats and a stock price that's less than 11 times this year's expected earnings, though, those pros may be underestimating just how well Franklin is positioned to perform in the post-pandemic environment.