The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) have gained the respect of investors around the world not just because of their status as high-quality blue-chip companies that offer stability and security. They also represent a solid dividend-producing portfolio, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) as a whole offering a dividend yield of 2.4% and with many of its components yielding far more than that.
But as smart dividend investors know, yield is only part of the story when it comes to picking the best dividend stocks. It’s also important to find companies that will be able to grow their dividends well into the future, to ensure that the money you receive will rise to meet the increased demands of inflation and other financial needs. So with that in mind, I looked at the components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) that have succeeded in raising their dividends the most over the past five years. Here are the four top companies.
4. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), 2.6% dividend yield, 15.7% average annual dividend growth rate since 2008 Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s dividend has more than doubled since early 2008 as investors have slowly realized that the company doesn’t have the growth prospects it once had. Because of the huge amounts of cash flow that Microsoft generates from sales of its legacy operating-system and office-productivity software, it has increasingly been able to afford more lucrative payouts to its shareholders. Moreover, given the mixed success the company has had using capital in other ways, such as through acquisitions, investors seem just as happy to keep more cash in hand.
3. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), 1.8% yield, 16.3% growth rate Unlike many tech stocks, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has paid a dividend for decades, but until recently, the company tended to make small payments and even smaller increases on an annual basis. Yet in the mid-2000s, the company dramatically accelerated its dividend growth, and since the beginning of 2008, the dividend has risen on six different occasions to jump by 138%. Even with the latest rise, however, the company yields less than 2%, and traditionally, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) has preferred using spare cash for buybacks that will lead to a direct upward push to earnings per share.
2. The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), 1.1% yield, 16.5% growth rate Like IBM, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has long had a reputation for stingy dividend payments. But in the past three years, the company has boosted its dividend by 150%, sticking with an old-style single annual payout rather than dividing its dividend into quarterly payments. The massive growth in the company’s stock price, though, has kept the yield down to just over 1%.