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All Contents © 2020The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Jeffrey R. Kosnett, Senior Editor
| Updated May 2016
Members of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index that have raised cash payments to stockholders 25 years in a row are known as dividend aristocrats. The title dividend champions goes to U.S. stocks, regardless of size, with 25 consecutive increases. There are 105 champions, a handful of which are working to extend more than 60 years of increases. But some U.S. businesses have been doling out cash to public stockholders for longer than six decades. Much longer, in fact. So Kiplinger now presents the dividend centenarians.
We identified a dozen investments that have paid cash dividends annually for at least a century. That’s not to say they’ve granted raises every year for 100 years. But some have never cut their dividend. Most of these companies have humble, workshop-floor origins, but they are not quaint. Most have evolved over their long histories into enormous, multifaceted, worldwide enterprises, providing great growth as well as dividends. Take a look at this intriguing list of income stocks. Some of the names might surprise you.
Stocks are listed in order of the year when each company paid its initial dividend, starting with the oldest. Current yields are based on the latest dividend, and share prices are as of May 25. Analysts\' stock ratings provided by Thomson Reuters. Research assistance to identify the companies paying dividends for 100 years or more provided by Dividend.com.
Courtesy York Water Company
Dividends paid since: 1815
Current yield: 2.2%
Last increase: 4.0%, declared in November 2015
Analysts’ opinion: 0 strong buy, 0 buy, 0 hold, 1 underperform, 0 sell
This small water utility serving York, Pa., and surrounding towns, whose sign and scenic reservoir, Lake Redman, are landmarks along Interstate 83, has been paying cash since James Madison was president. There’s no evidence that he was a shareholder.
TAKE THE QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Your Dividends?
Mark Hunter via Flickr
Dividends paid since: 1877
Current yield: 1.9%
Last increase: 5.8%, July 2015
Analysts’ opinion: 3 strong buy, 5 buy, 12 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
Founded as a bolt and hand-tool company in pre-Civil-War Connecticut, Stanley acquired Black & Decker in 2010 and is now big in sophisticated stuff such as electronic security systems and secure hospital supply storage units.
SEE ALSO: Best Dividend Stocks of the S&P 500
Dividends paid since: 1882
Current yield: 3.3%
Last increase: 2.7%, April 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 3 strong buy, 6 buy, 9 hold, 5 underperform, 2 sell
Descended from the original Standard Oil Trust controlled by John D. Rockefeller, ExxonMobil shows no signs of turning off the dividend spigot despite the downturn in oil prices.
SEE ALSO: 8 Energy Stocks That Could Make You Rich
Courtesy Eli Lilly
Dividends paid since: 1885
Current yield: 2.7%
Last increase: 2.0%, December 2015
Analysts’ opinion: 7 strong buy, 9 buy, 6 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
Lilly, a research-oriented drug company that has never dabbled much in anything else, closed 2015 up 25%. Despite a 9.8% loss so far in 2016, it has an annualized 17.1% total return since 2010. Its current diabetes, cancer and pain drugs, plus Prozac, weren’t on Lilly’s menu in its early days, but it made a name for itself by offering the first widely available prescription insulin.
Courtesy Consolidated Edison
Current yield: 3.7%
Last increase: 3.1%, January 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 0 strong buy, 0 buy, 11 hold, 5 underperform, 1 sell
Utilities have been a splendid source of dividends for 130 years, thanks in no small part to New York City’s power company. ConEd is also working on a streak of 42 straight annual raises. (Wall Street analysts often sneer at utilities although they have been splendid investments. So view those low opinions with a high degree of skepticism).
SEE ALSO: 7 Good Utility Stocks Paying Steady Dividends
Last increase: 4.4%, April 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 1 strong buy, 0 buy, 4 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
UGI is a variegated energy company whose main businesses are Pennsylvania natural gas utilities and the distribution of propane in the U.S. and Europe. Although its shares ended 2015 down 8.7% after substantial declines in the shares of some companies with similar holdings, it’s up 29% so far in 2016.
Courtesy Johnson Controls
Dividends paid since: 1887
Current yield: 2.6%
Last increase: 11.5%, November 2015
Analysts’ opinion: 5 strong buy, 4 buy, 9 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
Johnson Controls is a wild stock, known for 40% calendar-year gains followed by extended periods of weakness. It should become more stable this year as it completes spinning off its automotive parts businesses, leaving Johnson with energy-efficiency and security systems for commercial buildings.
Dividends paid since: 1891
Last increase: 1.0%, April 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 5 strong buy, 5 buy, 11 hold, 2 underperform, 0 sell
Ignore 2015’s negative results for P&G stock—it ended the year with a very rare 9.9% loss—and note instead its 60-year streak of increased dividends. P&G is eliminating many slow-growing product offerings to try to get its shares moving again. So far in 2016, its shares are up 3.6%
SEE ALSO: 7 Great Stocks That Keep Raising Dividends
Dividends paid since: 1895
Last increase: 2.6%, March 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 1 strong buy, 3 buy, 19 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
Household cleanser, mouthwash, toothpaste and soap are perennial sellers, so Colgate marches along, slowly but reliably, with predictable dividend boosts of 1 to 2 cents a year.
Dividends paid since: 1898
Current yield: 2.9%
Last increase: 4.5%, March 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 2 strong buy, 2 buy, 12 hold, 3 underperform, 0 sell
There’s big money in flour and cereal. General Mills is a reliable dividend raiser, with boosts of 17% in 2011 and 2014. This year’s hike is lower because the company’s enormous overseas business brings in currencies that are presently worth fewer dollars, given the strength of the buck. But General Mills is still a powerhouse that has never even once cut its dividend.
SEE ALSO: 8 Best Dividend Stocks of the Dow
Dividends paid since: 1899
Current yield: 1.5%
Last increase: 11.1%, April 2016
Analysts’ opinion: 6 strong buy, 11 buy, 3 hold, 0 underperform, 0 sell
PPG stands for Pittsburgh Plate Glass, but the company makes way more money now from coatings, paints and chemicals than from glass. Lately, PPG has advanced from a 3% dividend raiser to 7% and up. It's one of the reasons we recently named PPG a great dividend stock for retirement.
Courtesy Church & Dwight
Dividends paid since: 1901
Last increase: 8.1%, January 2015
Analysts’ opinion: 2 strong buy, 3 buy, 10 hold, 4 underperform, 0 sell
The maker of Arm & Hammer, Oxi-Clean and Trojans products is one of a few rare stocks to generate double-digit total returns every year from 2010 to 2014. High profit margins underwrite brisk dividend boosts, too: 7% and up every year since 2010.
SEE ALSO: 12 Stocks to Earn Dividends Every Month