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Intel Corporation (INTC) vs. Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Which Dow Stock’s Dividend Dominates?

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Dividend stocks outperform non-dividend-paying stocks over the long run. It happens in good markets and bad, and the benefit of dividends can be quite striking: Dividend payments have made up about 40% of the market’s average annual return from 1936 to the present day. But few of us can invest in every single dividend-paying stock on the market, and even if we could, we might find better gains by being selective. That’s why we’ll be pitting two of the Dow Jones Industrial Average‘s dividend payers against each other today to find out which Dow stock is the true dividend champion. Let’s take a closer look at our two contenders now.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)

Tale of the tape
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) is nearing the 14th anniversary of its initiation to the Dow. It joined at the peak of the dot-com bubble and has yet to provide a net benefit to the Dow’s valuation, but unless you bought Intel stock at the tail end of 1999, this isn’t much of a concern to you. Intel has long been the world’s leading chip-maker, with a dominant position in both PCs and servers — but declines in PC sales have left investors somewhat worried that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s growth days are behind it. Despite these concerns, Intel continues to support one of the strongest dividends in the tech industry. Its tablet market share is growing rapidly, for what it’s worth, as Intel has a spot in 90% of Windows-based tablets, which now make up about 7.5% of themarket.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is one of the Dow’s newest components. It only joined the index four years ago as a last-ditch replacement for a bankrupt automaker. That’s not to say that Cisco doesn’t deserve a place on the Dow. It is, essentially, the Intel of the Internet: More than half of all Ethernet switches, routers, wireless LAN products, and telepresence apps in the world come from Cisco, and the company also holds more than 30% of the market in voice-over-IP. There’s no such thing as an impregnable moat in the tech industry, but Cisco has done an excellent job thus far of holding the line against numerous competitors and competing technologies. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) only recently established its dividend, which could hurt its chances in this contest, but let’s try not to hold inexperience against it just yet.

Statistic Intel Cisco
Market cap $124 billion $129.7 billion
P/E ratio 12.5 13.6
TTM profit margin 19.5% 20.1%
TTM free-cash-flow margin* 18.7% 22.7%
Five-year total return 24.6% (5.8%)

Source: Morningstar; YCharts. TTM = trailing-12-month. *Free-cash-flow margin is free cash flow divided by revenue for the trailing 12 months.

Cisco actually has slightly better margins than Intel, but it has had a difficult time growing its share price over the past few years. Both stocks are undeniably cheap today, but which will be the computer hardware dividend champion? Let’s find out.

Round one: endurance
According to Dividata, Intel has been paying dividends since late 1992, for a full two-decade-long streak. Cisco only started paying dividends in 2011. This one’s an easy win for Intel.

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