Boring Stocks, Exciting Dividends

04/27/2011 3:25 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Trippon

Editor-in-Chief, China Stock Digest

Procter & Gamble exemplifies the attraction of blue chips with long histories of boosting dividends, writes James Trippon in Global Profits Alert.

I thought it would be relevant to reiterate just how important dividends and dividend growth are as components of your portfolio's overall performance. The chart below indicates that dividends have historically accounted for half of equity investment returns.

chart
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April has been an excellent month for dividend increases, as Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM), IBM (IBM), and Procter & Gamble (PG) all have either raised or are expected to raise their payouts.

The dividend increase streaks among this quartet of blue chips are nothing short of impressive—and while none of these stocks feature a 5% or 6% yield, there is something to be said for reliability in dividend investing.

These companies are certainly dependable when it comes to boosting their payouts, and multi-year or multi-decade streaks of doing so highlight the usefulness of having a couple of these "boring" stocks in your portfolio.

Speaking of boring, P&G might be the most boring among this group. Given its controversial nature, it's hard to say the oil business is bland, and while IBM isn't Apple (AAPL), at least it's a tech company and that's probably more interesting to most folks than P&G's consumer-products stable.

Here's what's exciting about P&G and other supposedly boring companies of this stripe: dividend growth. When P&G hiked its dividend (by 9%) earlier this month, it was the 55th consecutive year the company had done so.

[IBM hiked its dividend 15% this week, while Exxon Mobil boosted its payout 7%. Chevron reports earnings Friday—Editor.]

I'll let the chart do the talking.

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The chart only shows 2000 to 2009 (P&G currently pays $2.10 per share per year), but you get the point: The trend with this dividend is decidedly bullish, and there is no reason to believe that trend will reverse anytime soon.

[P&G shares now yield 3.3%, IBM 1.6%, Exxon Mobil 2%, and Chevron 2.7%—Editor.].

I could regale you with fancy mathematical formulas that illustrate the efficacy of investing in dependable dividend raisers, but sometimes it's best to keep things simple. Try this equation: Dependability + Dividend Growth x Reinvested Dividends = A much better portfolio. Or D+DGxRD=$.

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