Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

4 of the Safest Dividend Stocks That'll Help You Crush Inflation

By Reuben Gregg Brewer – Sep 10, 2021 at 9:03AM

Key Points

  • It's ok to be concerned about inflation, but there's no need to be scared of it. You can, and should, invest around it.
  • Adding stocks to your portfolio that have high dividend growth rates can mitigate inflation risk.
  • This quartet of dividend payers has proven over time that inflation is no match for their businesses.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Inflation is high today, but don't get scared. These four dividend stocks have handily beat inflation over the long term.

Right now inflation is spiking, so it's on everyone's mind. But it's always there, slowly eating away at the buying power of your dividends over time. The best way to deal with inflation is to own some dividend stocks with historically high levels of dividend growth. Here are four to consider today to help you win the prolonged war against inflation.

1. We gotta eat

Hormel Foods (HRL -0.74%) owns well-regarded, often iconic, brands like SPAM, Skippy, Planters, and Wholly Guacamole. It is fiscally conservative and focuses on innovation. The food maker is expanding overseas and reaching into new distribution segments, augmenting its already strong position in the U.S. grocery and foodservice space. There is a lot to like about this company.

The word inflation above a rising line with percentage signs under it.

Image source: Getty Images.

The stock's 2.3% dividend yield may not be huge, but is well above the miserly 1.3% on offer from the S&P 500 index. But the real magic is that Hormel has increased its dividend annually for 55 consecutive years. The average annualized hike over the past decade was a massive 15%. That's five times the 3% historical rate of inflation growth.

The best part here, however, is that this Dividend King's yield is toward the high end of its historical range. That's partly due to the impact rising inflation will have on its business in the near term (which will probably slow near-term dividend growth some), but the company's long-term history suggests it will adjust and reward investors with strong dividend growth while it does.

2. Most people like it hot

A. O. Smith (AOS -0.75%) makes hot water heaters, which is not a particularly sexy business unless you have to take a cold shower. Then you realize why the developing world, notably China and India, are such massive growth opportunities for the company. This is not a new trend or one that's likely to be short-term in nature. Basically, A. O. Smith has a growing business in areas where an expanding middle class all want the luxury of hot water on demand. And that, as it were, is backed by a solid and stable foundation in the North American market, where replacements of older systems is the driving force. It has been a potent mix for dividend investors.

Like Hormel, A. O. Smith's dividend yield, at around 1.4%, is not giant. But its dividend growth has been nothing short of incredible, at an annualized 21% over the past decade. For reference, the industrial company is a Dividend Aristocrat with 28 years' worth of dividend increases under its belt. Simply put, the buying power of A. O. Smith's dividend has grown massively over time and easily kept investors ahead of inflation. Recent dividend hikes have been less impressive, to be fair, but they continue to outpace inflation by a sizable margin.

3. Not as mundane as it seems

NextEra Energy (NEE 0.04%) might be a bit of a shock on this list, given that utilities are generally looked at as slow, safe, and boring. And that's a great description for the company's Florida Power & Light business, which is one of the largest electric utility operations in the United States. Not only is it big -- this business has long benefited from the southward migration that's been taking place in the country. The thing is, that's just half of what NextEra does. The rest of the business is being a giant provider of renewable power, a high-growth sector that has helped to fuel this utility's dividend growth for many years.

HRL Dividend Per Share (Quarterly) Chart

HRL Dividend Per Share (Quarterly) data by YCharts

NextEra's dividend has increased at a 10% annualized clip over the past decade, a pace management believes is sustainable over the near term. That's huge growth for a utility. And, perhaps just as interesting, this is no flash-in-the-pan company, given its 27-year string of annual dividend increases. The stock's 1.8% yield is on the low side for a utility, but if you are trying to tame inflation with dividend growth stocks, NextEra is a strong option and could add valuable diversification to your portfolio.

4. A slow transition

Enbridge (ENB -1.33%), the last name on this list, juxtaposes against NextEra, given that its core business is operating midstream energy assets that help move oil and natural gas around the world. The big picture here is important, however, because while clean energy is definitely growing in importance, it will likely be decades before carbon fuels are expunged from the global energy pie. So Enbridge's massive, virtually irreplaceable, and largely fee-based business likely has a long future ahead of it. In fact, the company continues to invest in its midstream operations even as it has started to build out its own renewables business, so it doesn't get left behind over the long term.

But what's interesting here is that Enbridge has increased its dividend at a robust 10% clip over the past decade. Oh, and the fat 6.6% dividend yield thanks to the company's energy industry ties is pretty interesting, too. The dividend, for reference, has been increased annually for 26 consecutive years. The company also has material investment plans that should keep its dividend growing. The rate of growth, given the rising cost environment, may not match the historical rate, but it should still beat inflation. That makes this a great mix of yield and inflation protection.

You can fight inflation

Inflation, like most things in life, waxes and wanes over time. Right now inflation is top of mind because it is elevated, but it is something that dividend investors should always be thinking about. Growing the buying power of your dividends is a massive benefit that is far too often overlooked in a search for the biggest yields. Use today's inflation fears as a lesson that dividend growth rates stand toe to toe with yield in their importance and do a deep dive into Hormel, A. O. Smith, NextEra, and Enbridge today.

Reuben Gregg Brewer owns shares of Enbridge and Hormel Foods. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Enbridge. The Motley Fool recommends NextEra Energy. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

NextEra Energy Stock Quote
NextEra Energy
NEE
$85.18 (0.04%) $0.03
Enbridge Stock Quote
Enbridge
ENB
$39.39 (-1.33%) $0.53
Hormel Foods Stock Quote
Hormel Foods
HRL
$46.84 (-0.74%) $0.35
A. O. Smith Stock Quote
A. O. Smith
AOS
$59.37 (-0.75%) $0.45

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.