Technology Turns to Dividends

07/27/2016 9:00 am EST


Charles Carlson

Editor, DRIP Investor

Congratulations to Chuck Carlson; his industry-leading newsletter, DRIP Investor, is celebrating its 25th year of publication. Here, he looks at a trio of dividend-paying technology stocks.

When I started in this business, it was unusual to see dividend-paying stocks in certain sectors, especially information technology. My, how times have changed.

Three technology stocks are now among the 15 top dividend-paying companies by total dollar amounts in the S&P 500 Index.

Leading the way is an information-technology stock — Apple (AAPL). Apple now pays annual dividends totaling nearly $13 billion, the most of any company in the US.

Two other information-technology stocks -- Microsoft (MSFT) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) -- are now also among the top 15 dividend payers, with these two tech giants combining for more than $16 billion in annual dividend payments.

Apple, Microsoft, and Cisco together account for well over 7% of the total amount of dividends paid by S&P 500 companies.

That technology stocks are now among the biggest dividend payers in the market reflects a number of significant changes occurring in the tech sector.

For starters, there has been a bit of a shift in mindset in the technology area that paying dividends isn’t a “bad” thing.

At one time there was a certain prevailing wisdom among techs that to pay a dividend was to admit that you weren’t a growth company any longer.

I think a lot of tech companies have come to a realization that returning money to shareholders in the form of dividends is something that most investors want, especially during volatile market periods where dividends can provide some support to returns.

Another reason for big tech dividends is the big cash flows these firms generate. Few sectors in the world can match the financial firepower and cash flows of these technology companies, so they have plenty of money to pay dividends and increase them at above-average rates.

In fact, I would expect these three techs — Apple, Microsoft and Cisco — to be among the leaders in this group in terms of dividend growth over the next five years, thus increasing their lead in terms of total dividend payments.

Bottom line: Dividend-seeking investors should not overlook the technology sector when hunting for big dividend payers with fast-growing dividend streams. The three stocks on this list represent worthwhile holdings in any portfolio.

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By Chuck Carlson, Editor of The DRIP Investor

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