Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

How Dividends Change the Game for Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Investors

The wealth-building power of compound interest will never cease to amaze me. It’s a story of patience and attention to detail, where small, short-term differences add up to massive divergence over decades. And in the end, the biggest winners don’t always deliver the fattest share-price returns.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) doesn’t have decades of dividend history to fall back on, but the company is a quick learner. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has increased its regular dividends every year since the first payout policy was implemented, save for a brief one-year pause triggered by the economic crisis of 2008. Share prices haven’t exactly soared, but dividend yields are growing nicely:

MSFT Dividend Chart

MSFT Dividend data by YCharts.

Without dividend payments, the stock would have lagged its Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI) peers significantly. But the race becomes much closer if you reinvested Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s dividend checks along the way. If not for the disappointing launch of Windows 8 last year, shareholders would have kept up with the blue-chip index over the last seven years.

MSFT Chart

MSFT data by YCharts.

Mind you, it’s not like Redmond is falling apart at the seams. That squiggly stock chart goes along with fairly impressive increases in long-term sales and cash flows. It’s the price-to-cash-flow ratio that has declined, not the business results themselves.

MSFT Free Cash Flow TTM Chart

MSFT Free Cash Flow TTM data by YCharts.

The company has plenty of headroom to become an even more attractive dividend play. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) paid out $7 billion to shareholders last year but collected $27.6 billion in free cash. Nobody is asking Redmond to pour buckets of cash into its dividend policy, but the option is there if management wanted to appeal to a new class of investors.

As it stands, only seven of the Dow’s 30 blue chips offer a stronger yield than Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). That pecking order might not last forever if Redmond sticks with its generous cash-sharing policies — or takes the next step with even stronger dividend increases.

The article How Dividends Change the Game for Microsoft Investors originally appeared on and is  written by Anders Bylund.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out Anders’ bio and holdings or follow him on Twitter and Google+. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.