The first week of 2015 brings with it a fresh batch dividend increases. Here are five that stand out.
It’s back to the grind. 2014 is in the books, but a lot of issues carry on into 2015 — like where is oil headed?
Energy continues to be a tough sector to own. Oil prices have sunk to $50 a barrel — the first time they’ve seen this level since May 2009.
But one positive that 2015 is bringing us is another string of dividend increases. Dividend investing in 2015 will continue to be a winning strategy.
Our final installment of 2014 dividend increases last week was chock-full of big names.
Here in 2015, we’ve dug through the names paying a dividend this week and picked out the top five that are actually increasing their payments.
This week is filled with “modest” dividend payers. Though many of the yields don’t look like much on the surface, these companies are worth a closer look.
Without further ado, here are the first five dividend increases of 2015:
Dividend Increase No. 1: AT&T (NYSE: T)
AT&T is the biggest name on our list, in terms of both market cap and dividend yield. It’s a $175 billion market cap telecommunications company offering a 5.4% yield. AT&T is upping its quarterly dividend by one cent this week to 47 cents a quarter. What’s more is that it has upped its annual dividend for 30 straight years. Shares trade ex-dividend Jan. 7.
This telecommunications leader needs no introduction, but the big news is that it’s looking to expand its reach by buying out DirecTV (NYSE: DTV). The deal would help relieve any churn and allow it to mesh its wireless business with a pay-TV offering.
Dividend Increase No. 2: Morningstar (NASDAQ: MORN)
Morningstar is a major player in the investment research business. Through its investment information business, it offers Internet, print and software products for investments. Meanwhile, it also offers asset management services.
With a 1.2% dividend yield, it might not look like much. But it has upped its dividend for three straight years. This week, it’s upping its quarterly dividend to $0.19 a share — a 12% increase. And there’s plenty of room for Morningstar to continue boosting its dividend. The company has virtually no debt and is paying out just 37% of its earnings in the form of dividends.
And when you stack Morningstar up against some of its investment research peers, it’s very reasonably priced. Morningstar trades at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 22, cheaper than the likes of FactSet Research Systems (NYSE: FDS), Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) and McGraw-Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI).
Shares trade ex-dividend Jan. 7.
Dividend Increase No. 3: MasterCard (NYSE: MA)
MasterCard is a global leader in the payments network. It also has a large economic moat, with high margins and a solid balance sheet. It’s a solid pay on the world’s transition to electronic payments.
On the downside, its 0.75% dividend yield is the lowest of our five stocks, but its increase is tops. MasterCard is increasing its quarterly dividend by 45% this week to 16 cents a share. Despite having reduced its dividend in 2012, the company has now boosted its quarterly dividend to its highest level ever.
And its payout of earnings is just 21% and it’s upped its dividend for three straight years now. The stock will trade ex-dividend Jan. 7.
Dividend Increase No. 4: Lincoln National (NYSE: LNC)
Lincoln National offers a variety of life insurance, annuity and retirement products. With a near $15 billion market cap, it’s no small company. And the majority of its products are linked to the equity markets, so a strong equity market in 2015 will be a positive for Lincoln.
It is boosting its quarterly dividend by 25% to 20 cents a share this week. The dividend yield is now up to 1.4% and it has upped its dividend for four straight years now. Shares trade ex-dividend Jan. 8.
Dividend Increase No. 5: Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ: GMCR)
Keurig Green Mountain is another company that requires introduction. It is the pioneer in the single-serve coffee brewers and pods market. It has a decade-long agreement with Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) that links the two in a partnership for bringing Keurig’s cold-brew system to the market this year.
After a 15% quarterly dividend increase this week, Keurig will be paying out $0.2875 a share quarterly. Its dividend yield is only 0.9%, but it has a very clean balance sheet and is only paying out 27% of earnings via dividends. And this is the first dividend increase for the company since it started paying a dividend in early 2014. Perhaps it’s the beginning of a shift toward rewarding shareholders more.
Shares of Keurig trade ex-dividend Jan. 9.
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