Five Dividend Aristocrats to buy
The Dividend Aristocrats Index, which is maintained by S&P Indices, is a great place to start. This is a collection of several companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. That means that every company in the index successfully gave investors raises not just during the good times in the market, but also during more volatile downturns, such as the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and the COVID-19 pandemic so far. They may be a safer investment than the average dividend-paying stock.
Here are five great companies from that index to start your search, listed in no particular order, followed by details about each company:
- Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG): Consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble has increased its dividend for an astonishing 63 consecutive years. It owns an impressive portfolio of consumer product brands, including Pampers, Downy, Tide, Charmin, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, and Crest, just to name a few. Not only do these brands give Procter & Gamble pricing power over rivals, but most of their products are items people need no matter what the economy is doing.
- AT&T (NYSE:T): Telecom giant AT&T has increased its dividend every year for almost four decades, and receives utility-like steady income from its core wireless phone and high-speed internet customers. And the company's aggressive moves into entertainment could provide long-tailed growth potential.
- Realty Income (NYSE:O): This is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, that primarily invests in single-tenant retail properties. Most of the tenants operate recession-resistant businesses like drugstores, dollar stores, and convenience stores, and they all sign long-term leases with gradual rent increases built in. Realty Income is one of the newest members of the Dividend Aristocrats, having joined the index in January 2020 after reaching 25 consecutive years of dividend increases. Note that the company hasn't missed a monthly distribution to investors in 50 years.
- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ): Like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson owns a portfolio of excellent brands that make products people need -- specifically healthcare items. In addition to its Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Tylenol, Zyrtec, Benadryl, and Johnson's brands (among others), Johnson & Johnson has massive and steadily profitable operations in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, the combination of which has allowed the company to increase its dividend for nearly 60 years in a row.
- Target (NYSE:TGT): You may be noticing a common theme here -- Target sells products people need. It has done an excellent job of growing its online and omnichannel sales (such as by offering curbside pickup), and while sales in some of its departments -- such as electronics -- may suffer in recessions, it is generally a well-insulated business in tough times, which is why it has given investors 52 years of consecutive dividend raises.