Most long-term investors love passive income stocks. Therefore, today we introduce seven “Dividend Aristocrats,” or businesses that have increased the base dividend every year for the past 25 years.
According to metrics from S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI), “Since 1926, dividends have contributed to approximately one-third of total return while capital appreciations have contributed two-thirds. Therefore, both sustainable dividend income and capital appreciation potential are important to total return expectations.”
Over the past year, the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index has returned over 6%. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has increased by 5%.
Solid businesses with wide moats tend to be able to generate stable revenues and strong cash flows in most years, even in volatile times or recessions. In fact, many such firms end up gaining market share at the expense of weaker businesses that might simply fight to stay alive during economically tough times.
Meanwhile, companies that consistently grow dividends are in effect saying that they are committed to sharing the success of the business with stockholders.
With that information, here are seven Dividend Aristocrats that deserve your attention in 2021:
- AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)
- Albemarle (NYSE:ALB)
- Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP)
- Chubb (NYSE:CB)
- Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR)
- ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (BACS:NOBL)
Dividend Aristocrats: AbbVie (ABBV)
52-week range: $62.55 – $113.41
1-year price change: Up 23.82%
Dividend yield: 4.71%
Illinois-based biopharma group AbbVie is our first Dividend Aristocrat. It has numerous research and development (R&D) centers and manufacturing facilities globally. Several of its therapeutic areas include eye care, gastroenterology, immunology, neuroscience, oncology, rheumatology, virology, and women’s health. In addition, its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio includes products, such as Botox Cosmetics, fillers, and implants.
The last quarterly report showed non-GAAP adjusted net revenues of $12.882 billion, an increase of 4.1% year-over-year (YoY). Net earnings of $2.31 billion meant an increase of 22.5% YoY. Adjusted diluted EPS was $2.83, up 21% YoY. Cash and equivalents stood at $7.89 billion.
CEO Richard A. Gonzalez cited, “Results from key growth products – including Skyrizi, Rinvoq and Ubrelvy – continue to track ahead of our expectations, our aesthetics portfolio is demonstrating a strong V-shaped recovery, our hematologic-oncology franchise is delivering double-digit growth and we’re advancing numerous attractive late-stage pipeline programs.”
The company has in-demand therapies and products that contribute to revenue growth. AbbVie’s pipeline also deserves attention. I’d regard any drop in price as an opportunity to buy the shares.
52-week range: $48.89 – $187.25
1-year price change: Up 124.84%
Dividend yield: 0.89%
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Albemarle produces specialty chemicals used in a wide range of products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, agricultural companies, water treatment companies, electronics products manufacturers, refineries, and others.
In 2020, Albemarle caught investors’ attention as it is the industry leader in lithium, used to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Consumers’ love for EVs translated to a jump in the ALB share price. Investors believe the new administration in Washington will continue to provide tailwinds for the renewable energy sector.
Q3 results announced in early November showed net sales of $747 million, down by 15% YoY. Net income was $98.3 million and decreased 36.6%. Adjusted diluted EPS of $1.09 showed a decline of 28.8% YoY.
CEO Kent Masters said, “We now expect to realize approximately $80 million of cost savings this year and to reach an annual savings rate of $120 million or more by the end of 2021. We expect these savings to represent a first wave of ongoing operational improvements that will reap notable benefits for the company.”
ALB stock’s forward P/E and P/S ratios are 48.39x and 6x, respectively. As a result of the recent run-up in price, the valuation metrics are overstretched. Potential investors could consider investing around $170.
Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
52-week range: $103.11 – $182.32
1-year price change: Down 7.87%
Dividend yield: 2.31%
Roseland, New Jersey-based Automatic Data Processing provides cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions such as human resources (HR) payroll, tax, and benefits administration, as well as business outsourcing services. The company tends to generate steady, recurring revenue. However, 2020 has also meant challenges due to job losses stateside, which has meant revenue loss for the group.
According to the most recent quarterly metrics, revenues came at $3.5 billion, down by 1% YoY. Adjusted net earnings of $605 million showed an increase of 4%. Adjusted diluted EPS was $1.41 and increased by 5%.
CFO Kathleen Winters commented, “Our first quarter results significantly exceeded our expectations across the board… While we still expect to face headwinds over the course of the year, we will continue to look for ways to drive strong performance in both the near and long-term.”
Forward P/E and P/S ratios are 27.9x and 4.81x, respectively. Despite the recent decline in price, I believe the shares are still richly valued for the current environment. A potential decline would improve the margin of safety.
Emerson Electric (EMR)
52-week range: $37.75 – $84.44
1-year price change: Up 6.29%
Dividend yield: 2.44%
St Louis, Missouri-based Emerson Electric is a technology and engineering company. The group focuses on Automation Solutions (manufacturing electrical components and providing services and training) and Commercial & Residential Solutions (covering heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration).
FY20 Q4 metrics released in early November showed GAAP net sales of $4.6 billion, down 8% YoY. Net earnings were $723 million, up 1% YoY. Adjusted EPS came at $1.10, down 4%. Free cash flow for the quarter was $1.02 billion and increased 2%.
CEO David N. Farr commented, “Amidst all the challenges, we exceeded our second quarter reset financial forecast in sales, EBITDA, and cash flow… We also continued to invest and took bold action to build on our innovation and technology footprint of the future, with three strategic acquisitions: American Governor, Open Systems International Inc. and Progea.”
EMR stock’s forward P/E and P/S ratios are 25.5x and 2.99x, respectively. Emerson Electric’s automation division currently has significant exposure to the traditional energy (i.e., oil and gas) industry. However, it is also growing its alternative energy (i.e., clean fuels and renewables) businesses. Any decline below $80, especially toward $75, would offer a good entry point into the engineering group.
52-week range: $87.35 – $167.74
1-year price change: Up 1.66%
Dividend yield: 2%
Chubb is one of the largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance companies worldwide. 2020 has meant challenges for the industry. The pandemic, hurricanes, flooding, flooding, and civil unrest have meant increased insurance claims. However, the company’s operations stood the test of times.
The most recent quarterly earnings showed revenue of $9.46 billion, up 4.6% YoY. Net income was $1.19 billion, an increase of 9.4%. Diluted EPS was $2.63, up by 10.5%. Operating cash flow was $3.5 billion.
CEO Evan G. Greenberg cited, “With strong and continuously improving underwriting conditions in most all regions of the world, we grew P&C (property and casualty) net premiums written 6.5% in the quarter in constant dollars, comprised of 10.8% growth in our commercial P&C business and a 3.3% decline in consumer lines … we expect to grow our EPS through both revenue growth and improved margins.”
The fact that Chubb was able to grow its premiums written in 2020 makes it stand out among insurers. I believe the shares could find a place in most long-term portfolios.
ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL)
52-week range: $48.62 – $81.96
1-year price change: Up 1.31%
Dividend yield: 1.25%
Expense ratio: 0.35%
Our next choice is an exchange-traded fund (ETF), namely the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF. It focuses on the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index comprised of businesses that have grown dividends for decades, not just for 25 consecutive years.
The fund, which started trading in September 2013, has 65 holdings. Total net assets of the fund are around $6.2 billion. As far as sector allocations are concerned, Industrials leads the ETF with 24.03%, followed by Consumer Staples (18.78%), and Materials (13.19%).
NOBL returned 6% in the past 52 weeks. I believe any decline in the price of the fund during this earnings season would make it a good buy for long-term portfolios.
52-week range: $26 – $84.12
1-year price change: Down 8.58%
Dividend yield: 2.35%
Houston, Texas-based Sysco sells food products and related equipment to restaurants, health care facilities, hotels, and educational facilities. It has about 57,000 employees in over 300 distribution facilities worldwide. The customer count exceeds 620,000.
Needless to say, 2002 was a difficult year as many of those customers had to scale down operations due to the pandemic. Sysco released FY21 Q1 metrics in early November. Sales were $11.8 billion, a decrease of 23.0% YoY. Non-GAAP net earnings were $173.5 million, down by 66.0%. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was 34 cents, a decline of 65.3%
CEO Kevin Hourican said, “Although our first quarter 2021 results continue to be impacted by the pandemic, we are pleased with our overall expense management and our ability to produce positive free cash flow and a profitable quarter despite a 23% reduction in sales.”
A potential decline toward $70 would offer better long-term value. In the coming quarters, as economies recover and cities and countries go back to normal, Sysco’s operations are likely to recover as well.
On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Tezcan Gecgil has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all 3 levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation.