We at Wyatt Investment Research talk quite a bit about where to find yield. We rarely mention when to find it.
For income investors like us, it’s important to know which companies are increasing their dividends and which companies offer attractive yields. It’s equally important to know the ex-dividend dates for each company.
Money-market accounts and CDs are virtually useless these days with the Fed keeping short-term interest rates near zero. And at 2.65%, 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds are near historic lows. As a result, dividend stocks have rarely been more appealing as an income alternative.
Top February Ex-Dividend Dates
If you’re looking to add a high-yielding dividend stock or two to your portfolio, you’d be wise to do it before the next dividend payout. In chronological order, here are nine stocks that yield more than the U.S. Treasury that will go ex-dividend in February:
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC): One of the more generous dividend payers in the tech sector, Intel offers an attractive 3.6% yield. The company has been steadily increasing its dividend since 2004.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE): This healthcare giant is increasing its quarterly dividend by two cents a share, to 26 cents from 24 cents. It’s the fifth straight year Pfizer has upped its dividend. At just over $30 a share, the increase will push Pfizer’s yield up to 3.5%.
Unilever (NYSE: UL): The London-based consumer goods giant just increased its dividend by 4% in November – its fifth such increase since late 2012. Unilever’s current yield is 3.6%.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUKE): Based in North Carolina, Duke is the largest electric power company in the U.S. And it’s very generous with its shareholders. Duke offers a 4.6% yield, the highest of any stock on this list. The company’s also a surprisingly reliable dividend grower, having upped its quarterly payment at least once a year since 2007.
Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY): This multinational pharmaceutical giant isn’t exactly a dividend grower. In fact, its $0.49 dividend hasn’t budged since February 2009. But the 3.6% yield is attractive. And the fact that the company hasn’t reduced its dividend payment since before the turn of the century is at least a sign of stability, if not growth.
Target (NYSE: TGT): The credit-card hacking debacle at Target has turned some investors off. The stock has fallen 12.5% in the last three months. But the retailer remains a huge dividend grower, having increased its quarterly payouts by more than six-fold in the last 10 years. What was a 7-cent dividend in 2004 is now a 43-cent dividend. That amounts to a 3% yield – better than the U.S. Treasury.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT): Another example of the rise of dividends in the tech sector, Microsoft just upped its payout by 22% in November. Its current yield is 3%, making February 18 a great ex-dividend date to be aware of.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ): If you’re an income investor, you probably know about Johnson & Johnson. JNJ is a so-called “Dividend Aristocrat” for having increased its dividend every year for at least 25 years. The company’s increases typically come in May. In other words, you have three months to get in as a shareholder before Johnson & Johnson upgrades its dividend – which offers a 2.9% yield – yet again.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT): This defense contractor offers the largest payout of the bunch at $1.33 per quarter. The yield isn’t bad either at 3.6%.
Those are the key ex-dividend dates in February. But that’s just one month. For access to a more comprehensive ex-dividend calendar – and to grab $5,760 in dividends over the next 12 months – click here. The deadline to get in before the next dividend payment is this Wednesday, Feb. 5.