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101 Best Dividend Stocks to Buy for 2019 and Beyond

Dan Burrows, Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

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Dependable dividend stocks that routinely grow their payouts are welcome in any environment. But they seem especially attractive nowadays.

Stock market volatility is back with a vengeance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went from powering ahead to an all-time high of 26,828 on Oct. 3 to losing 8% in the span of about three weeks. These kinds of rocky markets tend to give investors motion sickness. But they can add a dose of Dramamine to their portfolios - in the form of reliable dividend-growth stocks.

"Dividend growers, which tend to be quality companies, have generally shown greater resilience in unsteady markets and could address concerns about dividend stocks in a rising-rate environment," write Tianyin Cheng, director of strategy and ESG Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices; and Vinit Srivastava, head of strategy and ESG indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "This argument applies to not only to the U.S. large-cap space, but it also extends to small- and mid-cap segments and international markets."

Dividend stocks - both at home and abroad - with long track records of rock-solid rising payments tend to generate superior returns over long periods of time and can help investors weather shorter periods of market turbulence.

This is a look at the most reliable long-term dividend stocks in the world. Dubbed the "Dividend Aristocrats," they have raised dividends for at least five straight years (Canadian firms), 10 years (E.U.-based firms) or 25 years (U.S. companies). Such stocks provide reliable and rising income streams - and a sense of security that will help you sleep better at night. We've listed them here alphabetically; take a look.

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3M


Market value: $107.7 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 60

Industrial conglomerate 3M (MMM, $184.95), which makes everything from adhesives to electric circuits, is having a tough 2018. Shares tumbled after a disappointing third-quarter earnings report that reflected weakness in the company's automotive, dental and consumer electronics markets.

The stock is down 21% for the year-to-date as a result of its difficulties - a rare down year amid a long upward run.

However, whatever the shorter-term holds for 3M's share price, investors can bank on the conglomerate's steady payouts over the long haul. While inclusion in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats requires a minimum of 25 years of uninterrupted annual dividend growth, MMM has much more - its dividend has improved annually for 60 consecutive years, and the payout dates back a century.

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Abbott Laboratories


Market value: $117.5 billion

Dividend yield: 1.7%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

Following its 2013 spinoff of AbbVie - another Dividend Aristocrat on this list - today's Abbott Laboratories (ABT, $66.99) is focused on branded generic drugs, medical devices, nutrition and diagnostic products. Its product list includes the likes of Similac infant formulas, Glucerna diabetes management products and i-Stat diagnostics devices.

The company has been expanding by acquisition as of late, including medical-device firm St. Jude Medical and rapid-testing technology business Alere, both snapped up in 2017.

The company, which dates back to 1888, first paid a dividend in 1924. Abbott has raised its dividend for 46 straight years.

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AbbVie

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Market value: $122.3 billion

Dividend yield: 4.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

AbbVie's (ABBV, $80.79) corporate heritage will sound very familiar. The pharmaceutical maker was spun off from Abbott Laboratories in 2013, and like its parent, it carries a longstanding dividend payment. Including its time as part of Abbott, AbbVie upped its annual distribution for 46 consecutive years.

What should really excite investors, however, is that AbbVie upped its payout twice in 2018. The first one was an 11% hike that came during its usual payout-increase time at the start of the year. However, ABBV also announced an additional 35% boost to its dividend starting with the payment made in May, citing additional capital from U.S. tax reform.

Best-selling treatments include Humira for rheumatoid arthritis and AndroGel, a testosterone replacement therapy. All told, AbbVie's pipeline includes more than 35 products across various stages of clinical trials.

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Aflac


Market value: $31.8 billion

Dividend yield: 2.5%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 36

Aflac (AFL, $41.70) is a supplemental insurance company - popularized by the loud Aflac duck - with roots going back to 1955 that covers numerous workplace offerings, such as accident, short-term disability and life insurance.

The company's stock started the year in horrific fashion after a report of alleged fraud sent shares into a dive. But shares in Aflac have quietly come back after evidence of wrongdoing failed to materialize. Analysts at Janney Montgomery Scott have been steadfast throughout with a "Buy" rating on the stock. "It has a significantly simpler business profile with a more reliable stream of earnings than its life insurance peers, and has shown an inflection point in the sale of its benefits products both in Japan and the U.S.," they write.

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A.O. Smith


Market value: $7.5 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25

A.O. Smith (AOS, $43.74) is one of the newest members of the Dividend Aristocrats.

The manufacturer of commercial and residential water heaters was added to the illustrious group of dependable dividend growers in 2018. In January, A.O. Smith hiked its quarterly cash dividend to 18 cents a share, a 29% increase. Then the company upped its payout again, by 22% in October to 22 cents per share.

Over the past five years, the company's compound annual growth rate of its dividend is more than 25%.

Analysts at Boenning and Scattergood rate shares at "Outperform" (buy, essentially), thanks to the rollout of A.O. Smith water heaters at home-improvement chain Lowe's, as well as strength across the North American market.

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Air Products and Chemicals


Market value: $32.8 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 36

Air Products and Chemicals (APD, $149.43) spent much of past couple years restructuring. Under pressure from investors, it started to shed some weight, including spinning off its Electronic Materials division and selling its Performance Materials business.

Air Products, which dates back to 1940, now is a slimmed-down company that has returned to focusing on its legacy industrial gases business. But it hasn't taken its eye off the dividend, which it has improved on an annual basis for 36 years in a row. That includes a 15-cent upgrade in January 2018 - its largest in company history.

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Archer Daniels Midland


Market value: $26.0 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM, $46.46) processes ingredients for food and feed, including corn sweeteners, starches and emulsifiers such as lecithin. It also has a commodities trading business. It's a truly global agricultural powerhouse, too, boasting customers in 170 countries that are served by 500 crop procurement locations and 270 ingredient plants.

But it's a difficult business, too. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect ADM's earnings to decline at an average annual rate of 8.8% for the next five years.

Archer Daniels Midland has paid out dividends on an uninterrupted basis for 86 years. That includes 43 consecutive years of payout increases.

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Ashtead Group


Market value: $11.2 billion

Dividend yield: 1.9%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 14

U.K.-based Ashtead Group (ASHTY, $93.01) is a major player in the U.K. and American rental equipment markets. Ashtead leases construction and industrial equipment to customers that use its machines for road building, facilities management, climate control, special events and disaster relief.

The company's Sunbelt division is the second largest equipment rental firm in the U.S., with 712 locations nationwide. Its A-Plant division operates from 187 rental locations in the U.K. and is that country's largest equipment renter.

The company pays dividends semi-annually, and five-year dividend growth has averaged an impressive 45% annually. Note that European Dividend Aristocrats have a lower bar than their American counterparts, only requiring a minimum of 10 consecutive annual dividend increases for inclusion.

Dividends on some international stocks may be taxed at a higher rate; however, the IRS offers a foreign tax credit that investors can use to offset taxes collected by foreign governments.

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Associated British Foods

Courtesy Alexandre Dulaunoy via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $24.8 billion

Dividend yield: 1.0%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 18

Associated British Foods (ASBFY, $31.28) is a multinational food processor and retailer operating in 50 countries. Americans might not be familiar with the corporate parent, but they may know a few of its brands, including Ovaltine hot chocolate, Twinings teas, Mazola corn oil and Kingsmill bread. ABF also owns the Primark clothing brand and a chain of 350 Primark retail stores across Europe and North America.

Associated British Foods has improved its dividend by an average of 7.4% annually over the past five years, including a 12% hike in 2017 to 41 pence (roughly 54 cents).

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AT&T

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Market value: $211.5 billion

Dividend yield: 6.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 34

Telecommunications stocks are synonymous with dividend payments. Customers pay for service every month, which ensures a steady stream of cash to fund dividends. AT&T (T, $29.09) - the largest U.S. telecom company - is a perfect example.

AT&T has raised its dividend on an annual basis for 34 consecutive years, and typically boasts one of the highest dividend yields in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. That's in large part because of the cash flows generated by the telecom business, which enjoys what some call an effective duopoly with rival Verizon (VZ). Together, the pair command roughly 70% of the U.S. wireless subscriptions market.

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Automatic Data Processing


Market value: $59.6 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43

Automatic Data Processing (ADP, $136.35) is the world's largest payroll processing firm, responsible for paying more than 39 million employees and serving more than 650,000 clients across more than 110 countries.

One of ADP's great advantages is its "stickiness." It's difficult and expensive for corporate customers to change payroll service providers. That competitive advantage helps throw off consistent income and cash flow. In turn, ADP has become a dependable dividend payer - one that has provided an annual raise for shareholders since 1975.

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BAE Systems

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Market value: $21.8 billion

Dividend yield: 3.4%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 14

BAE Systems (BAESY, $27.33) is one of the world's largest defense contractors, serving government customers mainly in the U.K. and U.S. The company designs and manufactures military aircraft, land vehicles and surface ships and is expanding its capabilities in cyber security and intelligence.

Despite flat revenues last year, BAE was able to increase cash flow from operations by 54% and earnings per share by 8% while significantly reducing debt.

BAE's dividend has improved for 14 consecutive years, though its progress has been slow, at just 2.4% annually over the past five years.

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Bank of Nova Scotia

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Market value: $65.8 billion

Dividend yield: 5.0%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS, $53.45) is one of Canada's five big banks, serving more than 24 million customers in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America and Asia-Pacific.

BNS has gone on a buying binge over the past 10 months, spending almost C$7 billion on acquisitions both in Canada and Latin America. However, the deals have yet to have a positive effect on the bank's stock, which is down over the past 52 weeks relative to its Canadian peers.

Bank of Nova Scotia's third-quarter earnings were buoyed by strong results in its Canadian and Asian operations, however. That prompted the bank to raise its quarterly dividend by 3.7% to 85 Canadian cents per share - its sixth hike in just three years.

Qualification for aristocracy in Canada is a little different and less stringent than the U.S. version - most importantly, it only needs to increase its annual payout for five consecutive years, and can even maintain the same dividend for two consecutive years within that time.

Note: The exchange rate as of Oct. 1, 2018, is 1.28 Canadian dollars for every U.S. dollar.

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BCE

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Market value: $35.4 billion

Dividend yield: 5.9%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 10

BCE (BCE, $39.42) is Canada's largest communications company with annual revenue of $22.7 billion. It generates approximately 54% of its sales from wireline broadband and TV, 35% from wireless, and the remaining 11% from the company's media operations.

The company's fiber-optic network is 240,000 kilometers in length - the largest in Canada - delivering internet, phone and TV to more than 9.2 million locations across seven provinces.

BCE has raised its annual dividend by 5% or more for 11 consecutive years, keeping its payout ratio within a healthy range of 65% to 75%.

Becton Dickinson


Market value: $61.3 billion

Dividend yield: 1.3%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

Medical devices maker Becton Dickinson ( BDX, $229.00) first bulked up with its 2015 acquisition of CareFusion, a complementary player in the same industry. Last year, it struck a $24 billion deal for fellow Dividend Aristocrat C.R. Bard, another medical products company with a strong position in treatments for infectious diseases.

The company, which makes everything from insulin syringes to cell analysis systems, is increasingly looking for growth to be driven by markets outside the U.S., including China.

Annual dividend increases stretch back 46 years and counting - a track record that should offer peace of mind to antsy income investors.

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British American Tobacco

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Market value: $105.1 billion

Dividend yield: 5.9%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 20

British American Tobacco (BTI, $45.83) isn't terribly well-known in the U.S., but it's the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company. BAT owns the popular Dunhill and Rothmans cigarette brands, which are sold to millions of consumers worldwide.

BAT aims to deliver future EPS gains each year at high-single-digit levels. Earnings should receive a boost in 2018 from more than $400 million in anticipated acquisition-related synergies. The last increase to the quarterly dividend on BTI's stock was a 15.2% bump last year.

Brown-Forman


Market value: $22.4 billion

Dividend yield: 1.4%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 34

Brown-Forman (BF.B, $46.61) is one of the largest producers and distributors of alcohol in the world. Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey and Finlandia vodka are just two of its best-known brands, with the former helping drive better-than-expected growth in the most recent quarter. Tequila sales - Brown-Forman features the Herradura and El Jimador brands, among others - also are on the rise.

The company has raised its payout annually for 34 years, and has delivered an uninterrupted regular payout for 72 years.

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Bunzl

Courtesy Graham Richardson via Flickr


Market value: $9.8 billion

Dividend yield: 1.4%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25

Bunzl (BZLFY, $29.13) is an international distributor of food packaging, cleaning supplies, personal-protection equipment and other consumable items. The company serves customers from several industries, including foodservice, grocery, cleaning, retail and health care. Roughly 60% of sales come from North America, while Europe and the U.K. contribute another 35%.

The company's dividend has increased for 25 years in a row, which would be enough to qualify even as an American Dividend Aristocrat. The company's last hike to its semi-annual dividend was a 10% boost in 2017.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

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Market value: $38.0 billion

Dividend yield: 4.9%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM, $85.70) is the smallest of Canada's five big banks. It greatly expanded its U.S. business in 2017 buying Chicago-based PrivateBancorp for $5 billion in cash and shares. As a result of its purchase of PrivateBancorp, the bank's third-quarter earnings from its U.S. business increased by 295% to C$162 million.

On Sept. 13, CIBC sold $769 million of Canada's first gender-diversity bond, the funds used to lend to companies advancing women in the executive ranks and the boardroom. Considering they pay about 70 basis points more than similar-maturity Canadian federal government bonds, investors can expect to see more of this from CIBC and other banks.

CIBC most recently raised its quarterly dividend by 3 cents to C$1.36 a share.

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Canadian National Railway

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Market value: $59.8 billion

Dividend yield: 1.7%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 22

Canadian National Railway (CNI, $82.15) was once run by Hunter Harrison, the executive Bill Ackman hired to turnaround its rival, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP).

CN is North America's second largest publicly traded North American railway with a network of almost 20,000 route miles serving more than $250 billion of goods annually across Canada and the American Midwest.

Over the past six years, Canadian National has grown revenues and operating profits by 6% and 9%, respectively, compounded annually. Investors will like the fact that the railroad operator has grown its annual dividend payment every year since it went public in 1995, averaging 16% a year.

Canadian Natural Resources

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Market value: $34.4 billion

Dividend yield: 3.7%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 17

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ, $28.19) is one of the world's top independent energy producers, with natural gas, heavy crude oil and oil sands operations in North America and offshore operations in Africa and the U.K. It produces the oil equivalent of 1.1 billion barrels daily.

Business is so good for Canadian Natural Resources that it has been able to pay down its long-term debt by C$2.5 billion over the past 12 months. Its debt is now 2.1 times adjusted EBITDA, down from 3.4x.

In addition to debt reduction, the company has returned C$1.2 billion via share buybacks and dividends through the first six months of 2018. It currently pays a quarterly dividend of 33.5 Canadian cents, which is 22% higher than its year-ago payout.

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Cardinal Health


Market value: $15.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 33

A steady stream of acquisitions helped wholesale drug and medical device distributor Cardinal Health (CAH, $49.92) become the giant that it is today.

More recently, it has been embroiled in legal actions related to the nation's opioid epidemic. In late 2016, Cardinal Health agreed to pay $44 million to the Department of Justice to settle allegations that it failed to report suspicious drug orders. And in early 2017, the company agreed to a $20 million settlement with the state of West Virginia. However, Cardinal Health is looking for new life with an acquisition of Medtronic's (MDT) Patient Care, Deep Vein Thrombosis and Nutritional Insufficiency business, completed in July 2017.

On the dividend front, Cardinal Health has upped the ante on its annual payout for 33 years and counting.

Chevron

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Market value: $213.7 billion

Dividend yield: 4.0%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32

Chevron (CVX, $111.53) is an integrated oil giant that also has operations in natural gas and geothermal energy. And like its competitors, Chevron hurt when oil prices started to tumble in 2014. The energy major was forced to slash spending as a result, but - reassuringly - it never slashed its dividend.

Cut to today, and the outlook for oil looks much more stable. Oil prices topped $75 per barrel in early October. Kiplinger forecasts that prices will range from $65 to $70 a barrel through the end of the year - a far better environment than what energy companies were dealing with a few years ago.

With three decades of uninterrupted dividend growth under its belt, Chevron's track record instills confidence that the payouts will continue.

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Cincinnati Financial


Market value: $12.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 57

Inclement weather was unkind to Cincinnati Financial (CINF, $76.50) in 2018. The insurer said it suffered close to $100 million in losses from Hurricane Florence in the third quarter alone. The hit from Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in October, will take a toll on fourth-quarter results.

But while hurricane seasons always come and go, Cincinnati Financial's dividend always stays strong. The property and casualty insurance specialist has one of the Dividend Aristocrats' longest streaks of increases at 57 years, and given that Cincinnati Financial pays out only about two-thirds of its profits as dividends, that trend should continue.

Analysts expect forecast average annual earnings growth of 6.1% for the next five years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Cintas


Market value: $18.3 billion

Dividend yield: 0.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 35

Cintas (CTAS, $171.47) - which is well-known for providing corporate uniforms, but also offers maintenance supplies, tile and carpet cleaning services and even compliance training - is seen by some investors as a bet on jobs growth. There may be something to that. Shares are up 12% for the year-to-date - they were doing far better just a month ago thanks to unemployment reaching 49-year lows, but then pulled back during the broader-market swoon.

Regardless of how the labor market is doing, Cintas is a stalwart as a dividend payer. The company has raised its payout every year since 1983.

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Clorox

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Market value: $18.9 billion

Dividend yield: 2.6%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 41

Clorox (CLX, $147.82), whose brands include its namesake bleaches, Glad trash bags and Hidden Valley salad dressing, is raising prices to offset higher input costs. Analysts at Wells Fargo applaud the move, but think investors are taking a wait-and-see approach with the stock because of uncertainty as to how consumers will respond. They rate CLX shares at "Market Perform" (hold).

In the longer run, analysts expect solid and steady growth from the consumer products company; earnings are expected to rise an average of 6.1% a year for the next five years. Clorox's dividend has increased in size annually since 1977.

Coca-Cola

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Market value: $195.2 billion

Dividend yield: 3.4%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 55

Coca-Cola (KO, $45.92) has long been known for quenching consumers' thirst, but it's equally effective at quenching investors' thirst for income. The company has paid a quarterly dividend since 1920, and that dividend has increased annually for the past 55 years.

With the U.S. market for carbonated beverages on the decline for more than a decade, according to market research, Coca-Cola has responded by adding bottled water, fruit juices and teas to its product lineup to keep the cash flowing. In addition to the namesake Coca-Cola brand, KO also sports names such as Minute Maid, Powerade, Simply Orange and Vitaminwater.

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Colgate-Palmolive

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Market value: $51.7 billion

Dividend yield: 2.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 55

Colgate-Palmolive (CL, $59.58) sells staples ranging from toothpaste to dish detergent, and thus demand for its products tends to remain stable in good and bad economies alike.

The company derives the vast majority of its sales outside the U.S., and that has been a problem in 2018. A stronger dollar, stagnant demand in key overseas markets and higher input costs have weighed on Clorox's results.

You still can count on Colgate's dividend, however. It dates back more than a century, to 1895, and has increased annually for 55 consecutive years.

Coloplast

Courtesy of Flickr user Lost Parcels


Market value: $19.8 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

Country: Denmark

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 22

Denmark's Coloplast (CLPBY, $9.33) is the worldwide leader in ostomy and incontinence products and has an expanding presence in wound care, skincare and urology. Coloplast has the top market share for continence care and ostomy care products, the No. 4 share of the urology market and the No. 5 share of the wound and skincare market.

Over the past five years, Coloplast has produced 5.9% annual sales gains and 7.2% annual EPS growth, then turned that into 8.5% annual dividend increases on average.

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Compass Group

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Market value: $31.6 billion

Dividend yield: 1.6%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 17

Compass Group (CMPGY, $19.97) is the world's largest contract foodservice business. This British company operates in 50 countries worldwide, has more than 55,000 client locations and serves more than 5.5 billion meals each year.

Alphabet (GOOGL), Intel (INTC) and other large corporate customers account for 39% of Compass Group sales. Other important customers include health-care and senior-care facilities (23% of sales), as well as colleges and schools (18%). North America is the company's primary market, representing 59% of sales, and Europe contributes 25%.

The company's 8.7% annual EPS growth rate is almost mirrored by its 8.6% dividend growth rate over the same time frame. The payout is made semi-annually.

Consolidated Edison


Market value: $23.7 billion

Dividend yield: 3.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43

Consolidated Edison (ED, $76.33) is one of the nation's largest utility stocks by market value. Founded in 1823, it provides electric, gas and steam service for the 10 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. And like most utilities, Consolidated Edison enjoys a fairly stable stream of revenues and income thanks to a dearth of direct competition.

As a result, the utility company has been able to hike its annual distribution without interruption for more than four decades.

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Diageo

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Market value: $84.3 billion

Dividend yield: 3.0%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 20

Diageo (DEO, $138.02) is a multinational purveyor of beers and premium liquors that records sales in more than 180 countries. The company was formed in 1997 when Irish beermaker Guinness merged with U.K. liquor merchant Grand Metropolitan.

With iconic liquor brands such as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Smirnoff and Tanqueray, North America is Diageo's largest market. But the company sees better growth opportunities in emerging markets like India and Africa, where incomes are rising and more than 750 million new consumers will reach drinking age during the next decade.

Diageo has raised its dividend 8% annually for the past five years.

Dover


Market value: $10.3 billion

Dividend yield: 2.3%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 63

Industrial conglomerate Dover (DOV, $70.50) has its hands in all sorts of industries, from Dover-branded pumps, lifts and even productivity tools for the energy business, to Anthony-branded commercial refrigerator and freezer doors.

It's not an exciting business, though it has gotten more headline-worthy in 2018. Under pressure from activist investor Daniel Loeb's Third Point hedge fund, Dover spun off its upstream energy business earlier this year. Known as Apergy Corp. (APY), the spinoff began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on May 9.

Dividend growth has been a priority for Dover, which at 63 consecutive years of annual distribution hikes boasts the third-longest such streak among publicly traded companies.

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Ecolab


Market value: $42.6 billion

Dividend yield: 1.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26

Ecolab (ECL, $147.34) provides water treatment and other industrial-scale maintenance services for several industries, including food, healthcare, and oil and gas. Ecolab's fortunes can wane as industrial needs fluctuate though; for instance, when energy companies pare spending.

Over the long haul, though, ECL shares are a proven winner. That's thanks in no small part to a dividend that dates back 81 years. And that payout has grown on an annual basis for more than a quarter-century.

Enagas

Courtesy Moríñigo via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $6.3 billion

Dividend yield: 7.7%

Country: Spain

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 14

Spanish utility Enagas (ENGGY, $13.22) has raised its dividend 14 years in a row.

The company is Spain's principal natural gas carrier, delivering gas via its 10,000-kilometer pipeline network. Enagas also is TSO-certified by the European Union, which enables the company to operate in eight European countries. In addition to its pipeline, Enagas owns three underground storage facilities, four gas liquid plants and interests in natural gas assets in Mexico, Peru, Sweden and Chile.

Enagas fattened its dividend by about 5.7% from 2013 to 2017, and the company is guiding for 5% annual dividend growth through 2020.

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Enbridge


Market value: $53.9 billion

Dividend yield: 6.6%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 22

One of the big headwinds holding back Enbridge (ENB, $31.26) stock was a complex business structure in place to take advantage of tax loopholes available to master limited partnerships.

However, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decided to put an end to the loopholes, which allowed MLPs to double their recovery of taxes, Enbridge decided to buy back all of its pipeline subsidiaries at the cost of C$11.4 billion.

Enbridge did cut its annual dividend-growth-rate forecast to a manageable 10% despite oil prices in the $70s. But this can be taken as a positive. Enbridge - under a unified corporate structure, and amid higher oil prices but less strain from a rapidly scaling dividend - should produce better cash flow and ultimately be more attractive to investors.

Emerson Electric


Market value: $41.6 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 61

Emerson Electric (EMR, $66.25) makes a wide variety of industrial products, ranging from control valves to electrical fittings. The prolonged downturn in oil prices weighed on Emerson for a couple years as energy companies continued to cut back on spending.

Happily, analysts now say it's well-positioned to take advantage of the recovery in the energy sector.

Emerson has paid dividends since 1956 and has boosted its annual payout for 61 consecutive years.

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EssilorLuxottica

Courtesy Erkethan via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $49.0 billion

Dividend yield: 1.3%

Country: France

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25

EssilorLuxottica (ESLOY, $68.57) - the end product of a recent merger of French ophthalmic optics company Essilor and Italian eyewear company Luxottica. The combined group includes brands such as Varilux, Transitions, Foster Grant, Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley. Luxottica also brought with it store brands including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and Pearle Vision.

Essilor pays dividends once a year and has increased its payout for a quarter of a century. The company's dividend growth rate for the past five years is 10.9%, and juiced its payout by 35% last year. How the dividend program continues under the combined entity remains to be seen.

Exxon Mobil

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Market value: $328.2 billion

Dividend yield: 4.2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 36

A descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil, today's Exxon Mobil (XOM, $77.53) remains one of the world's largest oil companies and is the single biggest company by market value among Standard & Poor's 53 Dividend Aristocrats.

As a dividend stalwart - Exxon and its various predecessors have strung together uninterrupted payouts since 1882 - it continued to hike its payout even as oil prices declined in recent years. Exxon has increased its dividend for 36 consecutive years, and has done so at an average annual rate of 6.3%. That includes a 7% boost to its quarterly checks announced in late April.

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Federal Realty Investment Trust


Market value: $9.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.3%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 51

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) such as Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT, $122.52) are required to pay out at least 90% of their taxable earnings as dividends in exchange for certain tax benefits. Thus, REITs typically are a go-to source for income.

Few have been steadier than FRT. Federal Realty Investment Trust - which owns retail and mixed-use real estate across 12 states, as well as the District of Columbia - has now hiked its payout every year for half a century, and at an annual growth rate of more than 7%.

Fortis


Market value: $14.0 billion

Dividend yield: 4.2%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45

Fortis (FTS, $32.97) owns 10 utility operations in Canada, U.S. and the Caribbean, providing gas and electricity to more than 3.3 million customers. It is one of the top 15 utilities in North America. In the company's 31-year history, its asset base has grown from $300 million at its launch in 1985 to $50 billion today.

The company gets 92% of its earnings from regulated utilities, which means those profits are fairly stable and benefit from steady rate increases. It's easy to see why Fortis has been able to increase its annual dividend for 45 straight years.

Over the past decade, Fortis has kept its dividend payout ratio between 61% and 73%, ensuring it's not stretching to make its payments.

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Franklin Resources


Market value: $15.2 billion

Dividend yield: 3.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 38

The name Franklin Resources (BEN, $29.31) might not be well-known among investors; however, along with its subsidiaries, it's called the more familiar Franklin Templeton investments. The global investment firm is one of the world's largest by assets under management, and is known for its bond funds, among other things.

Mutual fund providers have come under pressure because customers are eschewing traditional stock pickers in favor of indexed investments. However, Franklin is fighting back by launching its first suite of passive exchange-traded funds.

The asset manager has raised its dividend annually since 1981, including an 15% hike announced in December 2017. Investors also got an extra treat in February, when the company announced a special dividend of $3 per share, representing almost 9% in additional yield based on the March 29 record date.

Fresenius Medical Care

Courtesy Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce via Flickr


Market value: $24.5 billion

Dividend yield: 1.6%

Country: Germany

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 21

Fresenius Medicare Care (FMS, $40.06) provides dialysis services through clinics in 150 countries. The company operates more than 3,500 clinics and treated over 300,000 patients last year. Much of Fresenius' top-line growth has come from acquisitions that include Sparsh Nephrocare, XENiOS, Cura Group, and most recently, NxStage Medical (NXTM), a major competitor.

The company generates nearly 75% of its revenues from North America, which houses approximately 2,400 of its clinics.

Its dividend has grown at a rate of about 7% annually over the past five years.

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General Dynamics


Market value: $50.3 billion

Dividend yield: 2.2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26

Defense contractor General Dynamics (GD, $169.86) is one of the newest members of the Dividend Aristocrats, having been added to the elite list of dividend growers at the end of January 2017. Shares in the company came under pressure in late April after quarterly revenue missed Wall Street estimates because of weakness in the company's aerospace unit, then again in October thanks to a revenue miss in its Q3 report.

General Dynamics has upped its distribution for 26 consecutive years, however. With a payout ratio of just 29.3% - the S&P 500 has an average payout ratio of about 40% - General Dynamics should have ample room for more dividend hikes.

Genuine Parts


Market value: $14.5 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 62

Automotive and industrial replacement parts maker Genuine Parts ( GPC, $98.56) is best-known for the Napa brand, though it also operates under AutoTodo in Mexico and UAP in Canada. Since its founding in 1928, it has pursued a strategy of acquisitions to fuel growth. At the end of 2017, it bought Alliance Automotive Group, one of the largest distribution companies in Europe, for $2 billion.

A long-time dividend machine, GPC has hiked its dividend annually for more than six decades. That includes a 7% improvement to the payout in February 2018.

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Groupe Bruxelles Lambert


Market value: $12.7 billion

Dividend yield: 3.1%

Country: Belgium

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 15

With the goal of diversifying earnings, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBLBF, $90.90) created its Sierra Capital subsidiary five years ago, which invests in different outside fund managers. So far, Sierra has returned more than 800 million euros ($910 million) of dividends to the parent company.

The firm's net asset value grew 11.2% last year, and Groupe Bruxelles raised its dividend 2.4% to 3 euros ($3.41). That was slightly below the 10-year average annual growth rate of 2.7%, but that still was good enough to mark 15 consecutive years of payout expansion.

Groupe Bruxelles currently does not have shares that trade on a U.S. exchange. However, some brokerage accounts allow investors to buy and sell stocks on foreign exchanges.

Hermes International

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Market value: $59.3 billion

Dividend yield: 1.1%

Country: France

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 12

Hermes International (HESAY, $56.91) is a 180-year-old purveyor of high-fashion goods and among the most recognizable luxury brands in the world. In addition to its iconic scarves, Hermes sells leather goods, home accessories and other consumer items through a worldwide network of more than 300 stores.

Hermes' success has allowed it to grow dividends by a nice 12.5% annual rate over the past half-decade. And in addition to a 12% hike last year to 3.75 euros per share, the company also paid out a 5-euro special dividend. Thus, investors received about $10.20 in dividends in 2017.

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Hormel

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Market value: $21.9 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 52

Shares in Hormel (HRL, $41.17), the maker of Spam, have been on a tear in 2018. The stock was up 15% for the year-to-date through Oct. 19. The S&P 500 was up 2.7% over the same time frame.

"The company expects to gain from its sturdy brand portfolio, innovation and buyouts," say analysts at Zacks Investment Research. "These factors are expected to help the company offset hurdles related to freight costs, adverse currency movements and volatile commodity prices."

And then there's the dividend, which is as reliable as they come. Hormel has hiked its payout annually for 52 consecutive years.

Illinois Tool Works

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Market value: $41.6 billion

Dividend yield: 3.2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 55

Founded in 1912, Illinois Tool Works (ITW, $124.10) makes construction products, car parts, restaurant equipment and more. While ITW sells many products under the namesake brand, it also operates businesses including Foster Refrigerators, ACME Packaging Systems and the Wolf Range Company.

Higher costs and a stronger dollar are weighing heavily on shares so far in 2018.

Illinois Tool Works announced a 28% increase to its dividend in August 2018, good for the company's 55th consecutive year of payout hikes.

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Imperial Brands

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Market value: $33.0 billion

Dividend yield: 4.3%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 21

U.K.-based Imperial Brands (IMBBY, $34.59) is the world's fifth largest tobacco company. Many analysts and money managers consider Imperial a prime takeover target, meaning investors could potentially capture a buyout premium by owning shares.

Imperial has been paying dividends since 1997. The company has improved that payout by 10% for each of the past nine years, and Imperial is committing to at least 10% average annual growth going forward.

Intertek Group

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Market value: $9.3 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 15

U.K.-based Intertek Group (IKTSY, $57.75) provides quality assurance services to customers in the energy, chemical, agricultural, construction and health-care industries. The company operates more than 1,000 testing labs across 100 countries, and its services include systems certification and supply chain assessment, food, fuels and chemical testing, on-site inspection and product certification.

Intertek frequently uses acquisitions to supplement organic growth and has added more than £250 million ($320 million) to revenues since 2015 via M&A.

The company's dividends actually have been expanding faster than earnings over the past 15 years, with payouts jumping by 19.1% annually versus 14% annual growth on the bottom line.

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Johnson & Johnson

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Market value: $367.5 billion

Dividend yield: 2.6%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 56

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, $136.97), founded in 1886 and public since 1944, operates in several different segments of the health care industry. In addition to pharmaceuticals, it makes over-the-counter consumer products such as Band-Aids, Neosporin and Listerine. It also manufactures medical devices used in surgery.

Shares in J&J were flat for the year-to-date through Oct. 19, but investors can take some comfort in the rock-solid dividend. The health-care giant hiked its payout by 7.1% in April 2018, extending its streak of consecutive annual dividend increases to 56.

Johnson Matthey

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Market value: $7.1 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 31

Johnson Matthey (JMPLY, $73.55) might be two centuries old, but it's still well entrenched in the future, manufacturing high-tech products from precious metals for customers in the automotive, natural resources and health-care industries. Among other things, the U.K. company is the global leader in automotive catalytic converters.

Sales are well-diversified geographically, spread across Europe (39% of revenue), North America (33%) and China and Asia-Pacific (20%).

Johnson Matthey began paying a dividend in 1999, and it has been expanding both earnings per share and its dividend at a 7% annual rate over the past six years.

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Kerry Group

Courtesy Hajotthu via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $18.7 billion

Dividend yield: 0.5%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32

Ireland-domiciled Kerry Group (KRYAY, $105.99) is a dominant player in packaged food markets across Ireland and the U.K. The company also is a world leader in specialty ingredients used to improve the flavor, appearance and health benefits of food.

The company likely will need to rely on acquisitions to achieve its 10% annual EPS growth target over the next five years. According to Davy Research, Kerry Group may produce more than £800 million ($1.03 billion) of free cash flow, which will be used for M&A over the next two years.

This European Dividend Aristocrat features one of the largest track records of dividend increases on this list, at 32 years of growth. The last hike was a 12% bump in 2017 to 0.63 euros (72 cents) per share.

Kimberly-Clark


Market value: $35.4 billion

Dividend yield: 3.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

Kimberly-Clark's (KMB, $102.31) well-known brands include Huggies diapers, Scott paper towels and Kleenex tissues. Like other makers of consumer staples, Kimberly-Clark holds out the promise of delivering slow but steady growth along with a healthy dividend to drive total returns. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect earnings to grow at an average annual rate of 4.8% over the next five years.

Kimberly-Clark has paid out a dividend for 83 consecutive years, and has raised the annual payout for the past 46 years.

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Leggett & Platt


Market value: $4.5 billion

Dividend yield: 4.4%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48

Leggett & Platt (LEG, $34.75) has its hands in several pies, including producing steel wire; designing and manufacturing seating support systems for automobiles; and making components for manufacturers of upholstered furniture, beds and other home furnishings.

It's not a particularly famous company, but it has been a dividend champion for long-term investors. Leggett & Platt's dividend has improved for 47 consecutive years and in 55 of the past 56 years.

Lindt & Sprungli

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Market value: $8.0 billion

Dividend yield: 1.4%

Country: Switzerland

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 15

Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt & Sprungli (LDSVF, $6,668.97) is a world leader in premium quality chocolates. The company manufactures chocolate from 12 sites across the U.S. and Europe, operates 410 retail stores and records sales in 120 countries. American consumers buy the company's Lindt, Ghirardelli and Russell Stover brands and have made Lindt the No. 1 player in premium chocolates and No. 3 overall in the U.S. chocolate market.

Demand for chocolates is growing at single-digit rates in developed countries and double-digit rates in emerging markets. So it should be no surprise that Lindt anticipates the majority of its future growth will come from emerging markets like China, South Africa, Brazil and Russia, where sales rose 12.4% last year.

Lindt's average dividend growth over the past five years has been a strong 10.9%, including a 10% hike last year.

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L'Oreal

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Market value: $120.5 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: France

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 35

France's L'Oreal (LRLCY, $43.08) is the world leader in cosmetics and skincare. The company holds a 19% share of the global cosmetics market and a 37% share of the skincare market.

The global market for cosmetics is growing 4%-5% a year as a result of advertising on social media, increasing urbanization and rising online beauty spending by an expanding middle class. L'Oréal's online sales grew 24% last year, and the company already commands a 10% share of the e-commerce market for beauty products.

The dividend has expanded 7.6% annually on average. Last year not only saw a 7.9% improvement to the payout, but also a preferential dividend of 10% to investors who have owned shares for at least two years.

Lowe's

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Market value: $75.8 billion

Dividend yield: 2.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 56

Home improvement chain Lowe's (LOW, $93.78) has paid a dividend every quarter since going public in 1961, and that dividend has increased annually for more than half a century. Rival Home Depot (HD) is also a longtime dividend payer, but its string of annual dividend increases only dates back to 2009.

Analysts expect the retailer's earrings to grow at an average annual rate of 15.2% for the next five years, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

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Magna International

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Market value: $16.3 billion

Dividend yield: 2.7%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 9

It's not easy being an auto parts manufacturer, but if any company can handle the tariff issues, it's Magna International (MGA, $48.36).

A big player in electric-vehicle development, Magna just joined with BMW and Andretti Motorsport as a partner in their electric-vehicle racing team. The alliance allows Magna to learn more about how its mobility solutions business can help cities solve their mobility challenges.

Magna repurchased $729 million of its shares in Q2 2018 in addition to paying out $115 million in dividends.

McCormick & Company


Market value: $18.2 billion

Dividend yield: 1.5%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32

A couple of acquisitions are expected to spice up McCormick & Company's (MKC, $138.39) growth. The company, which makes herbs, spices and other flavorings, bought RB Foods in August 2017 and Enrico Giotti in December 2016. Both acquisitions are helping to drive sales growth, Zacks notes.

Analysts expect average annual earnings growth of almost 10.4% for the next five years. That should provide support for McCormick's dividend, which has been improved on an annual basis for 32 consecutive years.

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McDonald's


Market value: $134.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.7%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 42

The world's largest hamburger chain also happens to be a dividend stalwart. Changing consumer tastes will always be a risk, but McDonald's (MCD, $173.34) dividend dates back to 1976 and has gone up every year since. That's the power of being a consumer giant that has been able to adjust itself to changing consumer tastes without losing its core.

McDonald's stock, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has outperformed that blue-chip barometer by 32 percentage points over the past five years.

Medtronic


Market value: $121.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 41

Medtronic (MDT, $89.75) is one of the world's largest makers of medical devices, holding more than 4,600 patents on products ranging from insulin pumps for diabetics to stents used by cardiac surgeons. Look around a hospital or doctor's office - in the U.S. or in about 160 other countries - and there's a good chance you'll see its products.

The company is focused on the health of its shareholders as well as its patients: Medtronic has been steadily increasing its dividend every year for more than four decades.

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Methanex


Market value: $5.1 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 7

Methanex (MEOH, $65.89) is the world's largest producer of methanol. Methanol is a clean-burning biodegradable fuel that's gaining traction for both commercial and residential uses. It's also used in combination with other chemicals to make plastics, paints, building materials and more.

Although Methanex currently only produced 7.2 million tonnes of methanol in 2017, it can produce as much as 9.4 million tonnes annually, providing significant potential cash-flow growth.

Between its quarterly dividend (currently 33 cents per quarter) and share repurchases, Methanex has returned $1.1 billion to shareholders since 2013.

Micro Focus International

Courtesy Ben P L via Wikimedia


Market value: $6.5 billion

Dividend yield: 7.6%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 13

The 2017 acquisition of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's (HPE) software division made Micro Focus International (MFGP, $15.29) the seventh largest software company in the world. Micro Focus provides enterprise-scale software for large businesses in areas such as applications development, analytics, big data, and security and risk management.

Since completing its initial public offering in 2005, Micro Focus has delivered 25.7% annual growth in EPS and 27.7% yearly growth to its semi-annual dividend, which jumped by 32.1% last year to 88 cents.

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Nestle

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Market value: $252.2 billion

Dividend yield: 2.9%

Country: Switzerlands

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 23

Nestle (NSRGY, $83.84) is the world's largest food and beverage company, boasting operations in 189 countries. Nestle churns out food products at 413 factories in 85 countries. Best-selling brands include Gerber baby food, Nescafe instant coffee, Purina pet food, Stouffers frozen foods and Perrier and Poland Springs waters.

In 2018, Nestle paid $7 billion to acquire Starbucks' (SBUX) packaged-coffee business.

The company's dividend is one of the oldest among these European Dividend Aristocrats, dating back to 1959.

Novartis

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Market value: $197.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.5%

Country: Switzerland

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 21

Novartis (NVS, $85.29) is a global health-care company that generates more than $49 billion in annual sales through the development and marketing of blockbuster drugs such as Costentyx (arthritis) and Entresto (heart failure).

Novartis has raised its dividend 21 years in a row and improved the payout by 7.1% annually on average over the past decade.

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Novo Nordisk

Courtesy Johan Wessman via Flickr


Market value: $102.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.0%

Country: Denmark

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 13

Danish firm Novo Nordisk (NVO, $42.39) is the world leader in medicines for diabetes and obesity-related disorders. The company has a 47% share of the insulin market and a 27% share of the total market for diabetes care (which includes insulin).

Demand for the company's medicines is growing because of the global diabetes pandemic. The incidence of diabetes has doubled over the past 16 years, and scientists believe the disease could affect 11.7% of the global population (more than 736 million people) by 2045.

While Novo/Nordisk has grown its dividend by 25.6% annually over the past five years, 2017's payout was just 3.3% better than the year prior, mostly because of increased spending on share repurchases.

Novozymes

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Market value: $13.6 billion

Dividend yield: 1.6%

Country: Denmark

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 18

Novozymes (NVZMY, $46.98) is the world leader in industrial enzymes and commands nearly half of this $4 billion market. Enzymes facilitate chemical reactions and are added to cleaning products, food processing, biofuel production and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

This Danish company flourished following its 2000 spinoff from the aforementioned Novo Nordisk, but growth has slowed due to lower oil prices, which reduced demand for some enzymes used in detergents, animal feed and biofuels.

Novozymes increased its dividend 14.3% in 2017 - just below its five-year average dividend growth rate of 16.3%. The company plans to increase its dividend 13% in 2018 and boost its payout ratio from 40% to 50%.

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Nucor

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Market value: $17.8 billion

Dividend yield: 2.7%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45

Shareholders in Nucor (NUE, $56.13), the largest U.S. steelmaker, aren't get much benefit from tariffs in 2018. Instead, oversupply fears have been weighing on the stock.

"There appears to be too much inventory in the channel right now, and this has impacted mill orders and volumes," say analysts at Longbow Research.

Despite the volatility in the steel business, investors can feel good about Nucor's dividend. The company has hiked its annual payout every year since 1974, and it pays out a conservative 20% of profits as dividends.

Paddy Power Betfair

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Market value: $6.9 billion

Dividend yield: 3.1%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 18

Ireland's Patty Power Betfair (PDYPY, $42.45) is a leading sports-betting bookmaker in the U.K. and Australia. The company was formed in 2016 through the merger of two major U.K. bookmakers, Patty Power and Betfair. The company operates 623 betting shops across the U.K. and Ireland, runs Ireland's largest telephone betting service and has numerous online sites for sports-betting, poker and casino-gaming.

Paddy Power has grown dividends 9.7% annually since 2013 while maintaining a payout ratio of between 40% and 50%.

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Pentair


Market value: $6.8 billion

Dividend yield: 1.8%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 42

U.K.-based diversified industrial company Pentair (PNR, $39.35) completed the tax-free spinoff of nVent Electric (NVT) in April. The move allows Pentair to focus on its water assets, operating in businesses such as Flow Technologies, Filtration & Process and Aquatic & Environmental Systems.

Pentair has raised its dividend every year for more than four decades. Analysts on average project earnings per share to increase 8.6% next year, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

PepsiCo

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Market value: $155.9 billion

Dividend yield: 3.4%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

Like Coca-Cola (KO), PepsiCo (PEP, $110.45) is working against a long-term slide in soda sales. It too has responded by expanding its offerings of non-carbonated beverages. One advantage Pepsi has that Coca-Cola doesn't is its foods business - the company owns Frito-Lay snacks like Doritos, Tostitos and Rold Gold pretzels, and demand for salty snacks remains solid.

In August, the company struck a deal to acquire at-home carbonated drink maker SodaStream (SODA) for $3.2 billion.

Pepsi has paid out a quarterly dividend ever since 1965, and the company has raised the annual payout for 46 consecutive years.

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PPG Industries


Market value: $24.7 billion

Dividend yield: 1.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47

Rising costs for raw materials are taking a toll on PPG Industries (PPG, $102.83) these days. The paints and coatings company said in late April that it would cut 1,100 jobs as part of a restructuring aimed at slashing expenses.

Longer-term, analysts remain convinced that the company can generate steady growth. Earnings are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of more than 6.4% for the next five years, according to Thomson Reuters. That in turn should help prop up PPG's dividend, which has been paid since 1899 and improved on an annual basis for 47 years.

Praxair

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Market value: $47.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25

Praxair (PX, $164.94) was added to the Dividend Aristocrats in January 2018, the same month that it declared its 25th consecutive annual dividend increase. The manufacturer of industrial gasses hiked its quarterly payout by 5% to 82.50 cents a share.

"With a focused business strategy and solid execution, we were able to generate record free cash flow in 2017 and this dividend increase reflects our confidence in our ability to sustain strong cash flow throughout economic cycles," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel said in a press release.

Analysts expect the multinational industrial firm's earnings to increase at an average annual rate of 10.7% for the next five years.

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Procter & Gamble

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Market value: $218.9 billion

Dividend yield: 3.3%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 62

With major brands such as Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Gillette razors, Procter & Gamble (PG, $87.86) is among the world's largest consumer products companies. Although the economy ebbs and flows, demand for products such as toilet paper, toothpaste and soap tends to remain stable.

That hardly makes P&G completely recession-proof, but it has helped fuel reliable dividend payments for more than a century. The company has paid shareholders a dividend since 1891, and raised its dividend annually for 62 years in a row.

Prudential PLC

Courtesy Andrew Smith via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $49.7 billion

Dividend yield: 3.3%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 14

U.K.-based Prudential PLC (PUK, $38.36) is a world leader in insurance products, annuities and other financial services. The company serves more than 36 million customers worldwide and holds nearly £700 billion ($897 billion) of assets under management.

Prudential sells annuity products in the U.S. through its Jackson subsidiary and is not affiliated with U.S. insurance giant Prudential Financial (PRU). Jackson is the largest wholesale distributor of variable annuities in the U.S.

Prudential has delivered five-year average dividend growth of 10.5% annually.

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Red Electricia

Courtesy Zarateman via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $11.4 billion

Dividend yield: 7.3%

Country: Spain

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 20

Red Electricia (RDEIY, $10.59) operates Spain's electric power grid along with a fiber optic network that accounts for 49% of that country's fiber rentals.

Red invested 412 million euros ($469 million) last year in its transmission system across Spain and completed the consulting phase of a project that will link transmission grids in Spain and France.

Annual dividend growth has averaged 7% for the past three years, including a 7% improvement in 2017.

Roche Holdings

Courtesy William Murphy via Flickr


Market value: $200.4 billion

Dividend yield: 3.7%

Country: Switzerland

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 16

Switzerland's Roche Holdings (RHHBY, $29.32) is one of the world's largest biotech company and the world leader for in-vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics. Roche became a leader these areas in 2009 when the company acquired Genentech, considered by many to be the founder of the biotech industry.

The company's drug portfolio includes best-selling oncology medicines such as Herceptin, Avastin and Perjeta, and immunology drugs Rituxan and Actemra.

Roche began paying dividends in 2005. Dividend growth over the past decade has averaged 8.2% annually, but growth has slowed to 3.6% annually over the most recent five years. And last year, RHHBY's dividend grew by just 1.2%.

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Roper Technologies


Market value: $29.5 billion

Dividend yield: 0.6%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25

Along with A.O. Smith and Praxair, Roper Technologies (ROP, $285.38) was the third company added to the Dividend Aristocrats in 2018. The diversified industrial company was tapped for the honor after it hiked its dividend for a 25th straight year in December 2017. Roper lifted its quarterly dividend by 18% to 41.25 cents a share at the time.

With a payout ratio of just 14.3%, Roper should have ample room to keep the dividend hikes coming for many years to come.

Royal Bank of Canada


Market value: $104.0 billion

Dividend yield: 4.2%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Royal Bank of Canada (RY, $72.14) is arguably Canada's biggest bank if you go by metrics other than earnings; for instance, its 13 million customer count is tops in Canada.

RBC also has the largest full-service wealth advisory business in Canada, along with the largest fund company in Canada. Even better, J.D. Power has named it the highest for customer satisfaction the last three years.

Over the past 10 years, Royal Bank of Canada paid out more than C$35 billion in dividends to its shareholders, growing its payment by an average of 12% a year - three times greater than the average U.S. bank.

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S&P Global

Courtesy B64 via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $43.1 billion

Dividend yield: 1.2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45

S&P Global (SPGI, $171.41), formerly known as McGraw Hill Financial, is the company behind S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts. Although most investors probably know it for its majority stake in S&P Dow Jones Indices, it's also a central player in corporate and financial analytics, information and research.

S&P Global has paid uninterrupted dividends since 1937 and has increased its distribution for 45 years in a row.

Sage Group

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Market value: $7.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.2%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 22

Sage Group (SPYY, $27.28) is an enterprise software business headquartered in the U.K. The company provides specialized software with applications in accounting, financial management, enterprise planning, HR and payroll, and payment processing and banking to business customers worldwide.

Sage currently serves roughly 3 million customers across 23 countries. Nine countries together account for 95% of Sage's revenues. Its top markets are Europe (54% of sales) and North America (31% of sales).

The company's dividend, which has been growing every year since 1999, has averaged 10.3% in annual expansion over the past decade.

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Sanofi

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Market value: $106.2 billion

Dividend yield: 4.4%

Country: France

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 24

French pharmaceutical powerhouse Sanofi (SNY, $42.60) is relying on acquisitions to help replace eroding sales on Lantus, a blockbuster diabetes drug whose patent recently expired.

The company spent $11.6 billion earlier this year to acquire Bioverativ, which specializes in drugs for hemophilia. In addition, Sanofi paid $4.8 billion to purchase Ablynx and its portfolio of medicines for rare blood disorders.

Sanofi has delivered 24 consecutive years of dividend growth on its yearly payout, averaging 4.9% growth on the distribution over the past decade. But it did up the ante for this year, boosting its dividend 13%.

Sherwin-Williams


Market value: $34.7 billion

Dividend yield: 0.9%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 39

Sherwin-Williams (SHW, $370.44) completed its $11 billion acquisition of Valspar in 2017 to create one of the largest paints, coatings and home-improvement companies in the world. The benefits of the deal are already showing up in results. Analysts expect revenue to increase almost 19% this year.

While Sherwin-Williams did issue $6 billion in bonds to finance the transaction, investors shouldn't worry about the company's 39-year streak of annual dividend increases. SHW pays out a meager 18% of its earnings as dividends, which means it has plenty of wiggle room while it pays off its debts.

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Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken

Courtesy Thue via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $22.2 billion

Dividend yield: 6.7%

Country: Sweden

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 10

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SKVKY, $10.26), more commonly known as SEB, is a leading Nordic financial services group serving corporate customers in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom. Founded in 1856, SEB serves approximately 3,000 large corporate customers, 400,000 small- to medium-sized businesses and 4.0 million private customers. The firm has assets under management totaling SEK 1,838 billion ($201.1 billion).

SEB halted its dividend in 2008 thanks to the global financial crisis, but has put together a string of increases ever since - and has done so at a rapid 25.1% average annual rate over the past five years.

Stanley Black & Decker


Market value: $16.9 billion

Dividend yield: 2.4%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 51

Analysts expect power and hand toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker (SWK, $110.21) to generate average annual earnings growth of nearly 11% a year over the next five years, thanks to a strategy of growth through acquisitions and cost cuts.

Stanley Black & Decker bought Newell Tools from Newell Brands (NWL) for $2 billion in 2016. In January 2017, it negotiated the purchase of Craftsman tools from Sears Holdings (SHLDQ) for a total of $775 million over three years and a percentage of annual sales. Most recently, SWK announced the acquisition of IES Attachments for $690 million cash in August.

The company has paid a dividend for 142 years on an uninterrupted basis, and has increased it annually for just more than half a century.

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Suncor Energy


Market value: $55.0 billion

Dividend yield: 3.3%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 16

There may not be a NYSE-listed Canadian company that's more popular with analysts at the moment than Suncor Energy (SU, $33.88).

Suncor is best known for its oil sands projects in Northern Alberta. Its latest, Fort Hills, which boasts lower carbon emissions and operating costs, just opened to pomp and circumstance as the Canadian oil industry celebrates higher prices and a stronger economy.

Over the past six years, Suncor has grown its dividend by 19% annually, from 50 Canadian cents per share in 2012 to C$1.44 in 2018.

Sysco


Market value: $36.3 billion

Dividend yield: 2.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 49

Sysco (SYY, $69.80), a food services and restaurant supply company, is generating sales growth by making acquisitions. The company bought European services and supplies company Brakes Group in 2016, as well as the Supplies on the Fly e-commerce platform. In April 2018, the it acquired U.K.-based Kent Frozen Foods for an undisclosed sum. However, Sysco has been able to generate plenty of growth on its own, producing a steady ramp-up in revenues for years.

Analysts expect average earnings growth of 12.6% annually over the next half-decade. That should allow Sysco to keep up its streak of 49 consecutive years of paying higher dividends.

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Target


Market value: $43.1 billion

Dividend yield: 3.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47

The No. 2 discount retail chain after Walmart (WMT) was late to the e-commerce game but its catch-up efforts are starting to pay off. Shares in Target (TGT, $81.94) were 21% for the year-to-date through Oct. 19. The S&P 500 was up 2.3% over the same span. Analysts expect average annual earnings growth of 8% for the next five years.

Longer term, investors can have confidence in the dividend. Target paid its first dividend in 1967, seven years ahead of Walmart, and has raised its payout annually since 1972.

Thomson Reuters

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Market value: $25.6 billion

Dividend yield: 3.0%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 24

Thomson Reuters (TRI, $45.94) started October by closing the biggest leveraged M&A deal of 2018. A group of investors led by Blackstone Group (BX) bought 55% of Thomson Reuters' Financial & Risk business for $17 billion.

Thomson Reuters shareholders will see $9 billion to $11 billion of the proceeds in the form of share repurchases, with the rest going to debt repayment, cash to the balance sheet, and taxes and deal expenses.

Its largest shareholder, the Thomson family's Woodbridge Group, will reinvest approximately 30% to 50% of its future dividends in Thomson Reuters stock over the next three years.

As a result of the deal, which will leave Thomson less reliant on the financial services industry, Thomson Reuters will keep its annual dividend at $1.38, bringing its streak of 24 annual dividend increases to an end. However, Thomson Reuters can remain a Canadian Dividend Aristocrat by increasing the payout next year.

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T. Rowe Price


Market value: $22.6 billion

Dividend yield: 3.0%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32

Asset managers such as T. Rowe Price (TROW, $93.87) have been losing market share to indexed funds of the type Vanguard offers, but the company still boasts $1 trillion in assets under management, and analysts expect solid top-line growth in 2018. Aided by advising fees, the company is forecast to see a 14.1% gain in revenue this year, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

T. Rowe Price has improved its dividend every year for 32 years, and it boasts a lean 39% payout ratio that should keep the annual hikes coming.

Unilever NV

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Market value: $144.1 billion

Dividend yield: 3.4%

Country: United Kingdom, Netherlands

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 19

Unilever NV (UL, $53.38) is an Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant with more than 400 brands in its portfolio, including American-friendly names such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove, Axe, Hellmann's, Suave and Breyer's.

Unilever Group consists of both a Dutch subsidiary, Unilever NV (55% of group sales) and a U.K. subsidiary, Unilever PLC (45% of group sales). The company is consolidating its operations into the Dutch unit this year.

Unilever pays quarterly dividends. At present, Unilever PLC and Unilever NV pay separate but equal dividends. Post-consolidation, Unilever NV will be the surviving entity and all dividend payments will be made in euros.

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VF Corporation


Market value: $31.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.6%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

VF Corporation (VFC, $79.31) is an apparel company with a large number of brands under its umbrella, including Lee and Wrangler jeans and The North Face outdoor products. It added to its brand portfolio with the acquisition of Icebreaker Holdings - another outdoor and sport designer - under undisclosed terms in April 2018.

Analysts expect average annual earnings growth of 13.5% for the next five years. Suffice to say, VFC's 46-year streak of annual dividend payout hikes appears safe.

Walgreens Boots Alliance


Market value: $72.4 billion

Dividend yield: 2.3%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43

Shareholders in Walgreens Boots Alliance's (WBA, $76.23) breathed a sigh of relief in April when Amazon.com (AMZN) shelved its plan to sell prescription drugs to doctors and hospitals.

Tracing its roots back to a single drugstore founded in 1901, Walgreens has boosted its dividend every year for more than four decades. Mostly recently, it announced a hike of 10% in June. It merged with Alliance Boots - a Switzerland-based health and beauty multinational - in 2014 to form the current company.

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Walmart

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Market value: $289.8 billion

Dividend yield: 2.1%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43

Walmart (WMT, $98.94) isn't conceding the retail race to Amazon.com (AMZN), even as the online juggernaut claims an ever-larger piece of the pie. The world's largest retailer, with roughly 4,700 stores in the U.S., has hardly been passive as Amazon seduces its customers.

Walmart expects U.S. e-commerce sales to grow 40% in the current fiscal year, driven by a revamped website with a focus on fashion and home goods. The retailer also is investing heavily in its online grocery delivery service.

Walmart has been delivering meager penny increases to its dividend since 2014, but that has been enough to keep up its 43-year streak of consecutive annual payout hikes.

Waste Connections

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Market value: $25.2 billion

Dividend yield: 0.8%

Country: Canada

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 8

Waste Connections (WCN, $95.76) is a waste services company providing garbage and recycling collection for secondary markets in the U.S. and Canada.

Over the past five years, Waste Connections has grown its adjusted free cash flow from $300 million to close to $900 million, allowing for double-digit increases of its dividend.

Waste Connections stock has a 10-year cumulative return of 422% as of Aug. 31, considerably higher than its peers and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. WCN also has delivered 14 consecutive years of positive shareholder returns.

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Whitbread

Courtesy A P Monblat via Wikimedia Commons


Market value: $10.4 billion

Dividend yield: 1.5%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 14

Whitbread (WTBDY, $14.10) is the largest U.K. operator of hotels and coffee shops.

The company owns Premier Inn, which operates approximately 800 hotels across Britain, the Middle East and Germany. Whitbread's Costa coffee shop business is the second largest coffee shop chain in Europe. Costa operates approximately 2,400 coffee shops in the U.K., more than 1,400 stores in 31 international markets and over 8,000 Costa Express self-serve kiosks.

Whitbread plans to split its operations into two separate companies over the next 24 months. According to management, "de-merging" will enable each business to focus more resources on international growth and produce £100 million ($128 million) in efficiency savings over the next two years.

Whitbread's payout has grown by 12.8% annually for the past 10 years, and its payout ratio tends to hover around 40% of earnings.

Wolters Kluwer NV

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Market value: $16.0 billion

Dividend yield: 2.0%

Country: Netherlands

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 28

Wolters Kluwer (WTKWY, $58.33) is a global leader in professional information, software and related services for customers in the health care, tax & accounting, finance, risk & compliance, and legal sectors.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company has offices in more than 40 countries, sells to customers in approximately 180 countries and generated sales exceeding 4.4 billion euros ($5 billion) last year.

Wolters Kluwer's five- and 10- year annual dividend growth rates have averaged 3.9% and 3.1%, respectively. The company pays dividends semi-annually and typically maintains payout in a 30%-40% range.

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WPP PLC

Courtesy IAB UK via Flickr


Market value: $14.1 billion

Dividend yield: 7.3%

Country: United Kingdom

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 18

WPP PLC (WPP, $55.91) is the largest of five advertising holding companies that control a sizable percentage of the world's advertising, marketing and communications.

WPP provides services through approximately 400 subsidiary businesses. It owns many of the best-known advertising and public relations firms, including Grey, Ogilvy & Mathers, Mediacom, Y&R, and Hill & Knowlton.

WPP's shares fell sharply in February of this year thanks to a weak outlook, and the company suffered more tumult in April when the company's CEO of 15 years was forced to step down following allegations of personal misconduct.

At least WPP's dividend has been impressive. The payout has grown 17.7% annually on average over the past 10 years, and 17.9% over the past five.

W.W. Grainger


Market value: $13.2 billion

Dividend yield: 2%

Country: United States

Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46

W.W. Grainger (GWW, $233.61) - which not only sells industrial equipment and tools, but provides other services such as helping companies manage inventory - is expected to generate steady-if-not spectacular sales growth for the next few years. Revenue is forecast to rise 8% this year and 6.2% in 2019.

Fortunately for the income-minded, Grainger has lifted its payout every year for 46 years and maintains a reasonable 34% payout ratio.

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