Bill Gates Brings Home the Dividends

Lately, it has seemed like dividends have been an endangered species. Last month, 18 S&P 500 companies suspended their dividends and five others cut their payouts. The news hasn’t been all bad, which is good for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Founded in 2000 by Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft (MSFT), the foundation holds nearly $50 billion worth of assets. It funds dozens of social, health and educational development programs around the world.

According to the foundations latest 13-F, which details the foundation’s stock holdings, its investment managers have shown a real knack for picking stocks that will increase Gates Foundation dividends.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea for individual investors to follow the example of the Gates Foundation.

The Gates foundation holds 5.3 million shares of Crown Castle International (NYSE: CCI). Crown Castle is a real estate investment trust (REIT); it owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and more than 80,000 miles of fiber optics cables.

The REIT, which has been benefiting from the nationwide rollout of 5G, is currently yielding 2.8% following a 7.5-cent dividend hike at the end of last year.

In addition, Canadian National Railway Co. (NYSE: CNI) also recently boosted its payout from $0.5375 to a quarterly $0.575 in March, now yielding 1.9%.

Operating a network of 20,000 route miles of track in Canada and mid-America. That increase was funded by better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, which came in at $0.91 per share, beating expectations by 15 cents. A pioneer in precision railroading cost saving efforts and operational efficiencies, as well has limited reliance on coal shipments, drove Canadian National’s earnings beat.

Waste Management (NYSE: WM) also managed an increase in the first quarter, increasing its quarterly payout from $0.5125 to $0.545 per share, for a yield of 2%.

Trash understandably hasn’t been a huge moneymaker over the past few months, considering thousands of businesses have been closed. Despite that, Waste Management beat expectations in the last quarter, earning $0.85 per share compared to $0.81 in the same period last year, thanks to smart cost-cutting.

All those dividend increases aren’t just good for investors, that additional income will help the Gates Foundation continue its charitable work.

Here’s to Profits,

Ben Shepherd

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