3M: 57 Years of Rising Dividends

02/04/2016 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Vita Nelson

Founding Publisher and Editor, Moneypaper

Fear becomes more apparent with each gloomy headline. Clearly, the end of the world is upon us! Except that it's not, asserts dividend expert Vita Nelson, editor of Direct Investing.

No doubt profits could be down and we could even slide into recession. And we could be seeing the onslaught of a bear.

But those things have happened many times before and they all have one thing in common: they always come to an end.

In the long run, prices always go up more than they go down. That's where dollar-cost averaging and dividend reinvestment come into play.

Every investor has a choice between wallowing in the depths of despair or building wealth through logical purchase of high quality companies at good prices.

One such high quality stock is 3M (MMM). Founded in 1902, the company has grown into a $85-billion market cap manufacturer that sells more than 50,000 products around the world.

Best known for its Post-It Notes and Scotch tape, 3M now makes everything from dental products and bandages to touch-screen monitors, asphalt shingles, and air conditioner filters.

The $4.10-per-share dividend, which provides a 2.9% yield, has been increased for 57 consecutive years.

What makes 3M so attractive is its scope and resources, which contribute to its proven ability to thrive in virtually any economic environment.

Throughout its history, the company has prospered by constantly developing new products, both for consumers and commercial customers, with the result that it has been able to expand both here and abroad.

In doing so, 3M has established itself as one of the most widely recognized (and trusted) brand names in the world, and by constantly expanding its product lines in all industries, has become a supplier of countless basic necessities.

As an investment, its stock has benefited by establishing a top-notch balance sheet and enviable history of growing sales, earnings, and dividends.

However, the stock—down from a 52-week high of $170—is not overvalued, trading at less than 17 times year-ahead earnings per share.

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