15 Dividend Aristocrats For Long-Term Dividend Growth

The best dividend stocks to buy and hold over the long term have a number of key characteristics in common. First, they have leadership positions in their industry, which provides for steady profits each year, even when the economy is in recession. Next, quality dividend stocks have shareholder-friendly management teams that prioritize rising dividends within their capital allocation strategies. Finally, they have long-term growth potential due to their durable competitive advantages. Indeed, these are the blue chip stocks investors will want to look to for dividends.

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Investors can find stocks with all these qualities in a single place: the Dividend Aristocrats, a group of 65 stocks in the S&P 500 Index, that have raised their dividends for 25+ consecutive years.

Top 15 Dividend Aristocrats

The following 15 stocks are among the most attractive Dividend Aristocrats to buy and hold for long-term dividend growth.

1. AT&T Inc. (T)

AT&T is a telecommunications conglomerate providing wireless, cable and satellite TV, and broadband Internet to over 100 million U.S. consumers and businesses.

AT&T has increased its dividend for over 30 years, and the stock is particularly attractive for income investors due to its high dividend yield above 6%. The company is investing heavily in growth, such as its massive acquisition of Time Warner.

The acquisition has provided AT&T with growth properties in media including streaming platform HBO Max. AT&T ended the 2021 first quarter with over 44 million combined domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers, and nearly 64 million globally.

2. Becton, Dickinson & Company (BDX)

Becton, Dickinson & Company is a medical supply manufacturer. It generates annual revenue above $17 billion, with over 40% of revenue coming from outside the United States. The company has steadily grown into an industry giant.

For example, BDX manufactures over 40 billion medical devices each year. Its leading industry position is due to years of significant investment in R&D to create durable competitive advantages. The company spends over $1 billion in R&D annually, and this investment has paid off as BDX now has over 27,000 active patents.

BDX has increased its dividend for nearly 50 years, and currently yields 1.4%.

3. AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

AbbVie is a pharmaceutical manufacturer spun off by Abbott Laboratories (ABT) in 2013. Its most important product is Humira, which will lose patent protection in the U.S. in 2023. Even so, AbbVie has multiple growth opportunities to replace Humira, particularly in the therapeutic areas of immunology, hematology, and neuroscience.

The $63 billion acquisition of Allergan is an additional catalyst. Surely, Allergan’s flagship product is Botox diversifies AbbVie’s portfolio with exposure to global aesthetics. In the 2021 first quarter, AbbVie’s revenue grew 51%, while earnings-per-share increased 22%.

AbbVie stock has a high dividend yield of 4.5%, which makes it particularly appealing for income investors..

4. Atmos Energy (ATO)

Atmos Energy distributes and stores natural gas in eight states, and serves over 3 million customers primarily in Texas. Indeed, approximately two-thirds of its business mix is distribution, with pipeline and storage accounting for the remaining one-third.

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This article originally appeared on The Financially Independent Millennial and was republished with ...

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