America’s biggest industrials will probably never receive much attention from the financial media. Whereas today’s market headlines are reserved for social media stocks and technology start-ups that are sure to lead the investing world into the future, boring old industrials are often left out in the cold.
However, that doesn’t mean these companies haven’t earned a place in your portfolio. Far from it—in fact, these stocks shouldn’t be bought in spite of their lack of high-flier status, but rather because of it. These businesses are boring, and investors looking for a quick buck should look elsewhere. But that’s exactly why these stocks have stood the test of time, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
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Companies such as Dover Corp (NYSE:DOV) don’t spend much time in the media spotlight. All Dover has done is provide its investors with slow-and-steady results for decades.
Dover Corp (NYSE:DOV) has a diversified business model, manufacturing products that are critical to the communications, energy, and technology sectors. And, the company is extremely successful: revenue over the first half of the year increased 7%, and adjusted earnings per share grew at a superb 17% year over year.
And the good times aren’t expected to end any time soon. Along with its earnings report, Dover Corp (NYSE:DOV) reaffirmed its outlook for the full year, which includes revenue growth between 7% and 9%, and at least $5.56 in per-share earnings.
Such reliable growth is what has allowed Dover Corp (NYSE:DOV) to maintain a track record of shareholder rewards that is hard to beat. Very recently, the company increased its dividend by 7%. All told, the company has raised its shareholder payout for 58 years in a row. According to Dover, that’s the fourth-longest record of any publicly traded company in existence.
Speaking of increasing dividends, Dover Corp (NYSE:DOV) isn’t the only industrial sharing its success with investors. Diversified manufacturer Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) also recently gave its investors a dividend increase. The company bumped up its payout by 10.5%, and not only that, but it also gave investors an extra dose of rewards in the form of a new share buyback.
Along with its dividend raise, Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) announced a new $6 billion share repurchase authorization.
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW)’ products are used in electronics, power systems, and transportation. The company certainly has the profitability to back up such a strong history of returning cash to shareholders. It recently reported second-quarter results, which showed 6% growth in adjusted EPS.
Of course, no discussion of industrials with long histories of success is complete without first mentioning 3M Co (NYSE:MMM), formerly known as Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.
There certainly isn’t much fanfare to owning 3M Co (NYSE:MMM), unless, of course, your aim is strictly profits and dividends.
3M Co (NYSE:MMM)’s recently released second quarter results showed 3% growth in both sales and EPS. Revenue clocked in at $7.8 billion, which set a company record.
3M Co (NYSE:MMM) also reiterated its outlook for the remainder of the year, which calls for at least $6.60 in EPS. Results like these are exactly why 3M has been able to reward shareholders so generously for such a long period of time.
Consider that earlier this year, 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) increased its dividend by 8%. Not only that, but the company also announced it had authorized a $7.5 billion stock buyback program. The dividend raise marked the 55th consecutive year of dividend increases. Furthermore, 3M has paid uninterrupted dividends to shareholders for an amazing 96 years in a row.
According to the company, over the past ten years 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) has returned $32 billion to shareholders through a combination of dividends and share repurchases, or 89% of reported net income.