The S&P Dividend Aristocrats are companies in the S&P500 index that have increased their dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. Companies on the list have been increasing their dividends since 1984 – meaning they’ve increased it through the economic malaise of the early 90’s , the dot com bubble of the early 2000s , and the worst recession since the Great Depression!
Before you go out and snatch up a few shares of some of these companies, remember that there is only one reason why they are on this list – they have increased their dividends each year for twenty five years. It doesn’t mean they are good companies, it doesn’t mean they will continue to increase dividends (ten companies dropped from the list in 2009), and it doesn’t mean they make good investments. Remember to do your own homework and that past returns are not indicative of future performance.
The S&P doesn’t look at dividend coverage (how much of the dividend is covered by cash flow) or the yield, just that the total dollar amount of the dividend has increased every year for at least twenty five years.
Who are the Dividend Aristocrats?
There are currently 43 companies on the Dividend Aristocrats list. They are:
- 3M Co (MMM )
- AFLAC Inc (AFL )
- Abbott Laboratories (ABT )
- Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD )
- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co (ADM )
- Automatic Data Processing (ADP )
- Bard, C.R. Inc (BCR )
- Becton, Dickinson & Co (BDX )
- Bemis Co Inc (BMS )
- Brown-Forman Corp B (BF/B )
- Centurytel Inc (CTL )
- Chubb Corp (CB )
- Cincinnati Financial Corp (CINF )
- Cintas Corp (CTAS )
- Clorox Co (CLX )
- Coca-Cola Co (KO )
- Consolidated Edison Inc (ED )
- Dover Corp (DOV )
- Emerson Electric Co (EMR )
- Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM )
- Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO )
- Grainger, W.W. Inc (GWW )
- Integrys Energy Group Inc (TEG )
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ )
- Kimberly-Clark (KMB )
- Leggett & Platt (LEG )
- Lilly, Eli & Co (LLY )
- Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW )
- McDonald’s Corp (MCD )
- McGraw-Hill Cos Inc (MHP )
- PPG Industries Inc (PPG )
- PepsiCo Inc (PEP )
- Pitney Bowes Inc (PBI )
- Procter & Gamble (PG )
- Questar Corp (STR )
- Sherwin-Williams Co (SHW )
- Sigma-Aldrich Corp (SIAL )
- Stanley Works (SWK )
- Supervalu Inc (SVU )
- Target Corp (TGT )
- VF Corp (VFC )
- Wal-Mart Stores (WMT )
- Walgreen Co (WAG )
Changes for 2010
There were two additions to the Dividend Aristocrats (changes were made on December 18, 2009):
- Brown-Forman Corporation (BF.B ) – manufactures, bottles, imports, experts, and markets several alcoholic beverage brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Korbel, Fetzer, etc.
- Cintas Corporation (CTAS ) – most well known as a provider of uniforms through rental and sales but they also provide other specialized products and services to business such as entrance mats, restroom products, first aid, document management, etc.
There were ten removals from the list – Avery Dennison (AVY ), BB&T Corp (BBT ), Gannett (GCI ), General Electric (GE ), Johnson Controls (JCI ), Legg Mason (LM ), M&T Bank (MTB ), Pfizer (PFE ), State Street Corp. (STT ), and US Bancorp (USB ). Remember, to remain on the list they have to increase their dividend, just standing pat will get you removed from the list. You might see them come back in twenty five years. 🙂
Poor Legg Mason, they were added when the list was adjusted in December 2008 (it’s adjusted every December), and they lasted just one year!
There you have it, the kings of the dividend jungle!
(Photo: law_keven )