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2020's Dividend Aristocrats List: All 66 Stocks

John Divine

Rock-solid dividend aristocrats you can bank on.

Finding great dividend stocks is hard work. Any company can pay a dividend. But is it prudent, sustainable, based on a sound and stable long-term business and liable to grow? And from an investor's perspective, is it meaningful? These are the questions that matter to long-term income investors. One shortcut to finding great dividend stocks is to look at the "dividend aristocrats," companies in the S&P 500 Index that have been increasing dividend payments annually for at least 25 years. There are 66 such companies in the world: Here's the full dividend aristocrats list for 2020 -- including this year's newest arrivals -- in alphabetical order.

3M (ticker: MMM)

Founded in 1902 in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3M has a long and storied history of innovation, diversification and success. Today, the company makes such a variety of different industrial and consumer products, you'd be shocked to hear one company could do so many things. The inventor of the Post-it note also makes all kinds of tape, original equipment manufacturer parts like powertrains and chassis materials and a laundry list of other products for almost any end market you can think of. Famously, 30% of division revenue must come from products introduced in the last four years, keeping innovation incentivized.

Sector: Consumer industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 61
Dividend yield: 3.8%

A.O. Smith Corp. (AOS)

Do you like running water in your house? You probably like the luxury of hot water even more. A.O. Smith meets this demand by making water heaters on a massive scale. It turns out people all over the world have an appreciation for it, as AOS operates in the U.S., China, India, Mexico, the U.K., the Netherlands and Turkey. Residential water heaters can cost from $400 to $3,000 and up, and they don't last forever, so there's steady demand. AOS also makes commercial water heaters and boilers, which are more expensive and have a wider range of uses.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 27
Dividend yield: 2%

Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

Abbott has long been a standout player in the health care sector, both in terms of its offerings and good treatment of investors. Today, ABT is well-diversified, deriving revenue from its pharmaceuticals, nutritional products, diagnostics and cardiovascular divisions. Abbott hasn't become a business worth more than $150 billion by accident: Its products, which now includes the world's first smartphone-compatible cardiac monitor, have saved countless lives. Along with many other products, Abbott is well-known for its stents as well as the meal replacement Ensure.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 1.6%

AbbVie (ABBV)

AbbVie began as a high-growth 2012 spinoff of Abbott. Including its former parent company's dividend payments before the spinoff, ABBV has been increasing quarterly cash payments to its grateful shareholders since 1973. Now worth more than $150 billion, ABBV is the proud owner of blockbuster arthritis drug Humira, which is also approved to treat many other ailments and pulled in $4.7 billion in a single quarter recently. Though Humira's growth has been tempered by competition, AbbVie's lymphoma drug Imbruvica and hepatitis C treatment Mavyret are also growing rapidly, and the company acquired Botox-maker Allergan to provide further diversification.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 5.2%

Aflac (AFL)

Who hasn't heard of Aflac? The cacophonous duck practically bullied its way into the American collective consciousness through relentless advertising and a never-ending refrain of the company's name. AFL offers both health and life insurance -- including accident, loss-of-income and hospital indemnity plans -- and operates in the U.S. and Japan. AFL isn't what you'd call a high-growth business, and the sudden global health developments of 2020 have hit the stock and reduced revenue prospects going forward. While low rates aren't great for insurers, the low payout ratio of 27% helps underline the dividend's sustainability.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 37
Dividend yield: 3.1%

Air Products & Chemicals (APD)

Guess what this company does? You got it! APD got straight to the point with its name, summarizing its business of selling basically any legal gas you can imagine, along with various products for those wishing to transport, store or purify gas and air. Founded in 1940, this under-the-radar dividend stock has been sticking to its niche and expanding steadily and reliably since its founding. With diversified clientele from the agriculture, oil and gas production, glass, metal production and mining industries (among others), it's no wonder APD is a cash cow and a dividend aristocrat.

Sector: Basic materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 37
Dividend yield: 2.2%

Albemarle Corp. (ALB)

New to the dividend aristocrats list in 2020, specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corp. is one of the smaller companies on the list, with a market cap around $8 billion. The company's payout ratio, which measures the percentage of earnings needed to pay the dividend, is quite low at roughly 30%, so even if earnings fall suddenly, the dividend can be salvaged. A leading provider of lithium, ALB will benefit from the growing need for lithium-ion batteries in the electric-vehicle market. Its products are also used in refining, consumer electronics, crop protection, pharmaceuticals and other end markets.

Sector: Materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25
Dividend yield: 2%

Amcor PLC (AMCR)

New to the list in 2020 despite a 36-year track record of dividend increases, Amcor completed a merger with Bemis, another longtime leader in the unheralded area of consumer packaging, and the combined company replaced Mattel (MAT) in the S&P 500. Each company had a lengthy corporate history dating back more than 150 years, and today, Amcor's packaging can be found in the food, beverage, health care and personal care segments, among others. From ready-made meals to ground coffee, medicine capsules and shampoo bottles, Amcor's diversified operations and long track record should reassure investors.

Sector: Materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 36
Dividend yield: 4.5%

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM)

Founded in 1898, Archer-Daniels-Midland is one of the biggest players in agriculture today. Doing the behind-the-scenes work that helps feed the masses, ADM makes animal nutrition products, oilseeds and cash crops like corn, wheat, rice and barley. Aside from farming the biggest crops, the company also does the processing work that turns these raw foods into some of the most common ingredients that you see in almost every product you buy -- think high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose and amino acids. ADM is a prototypical defensive dividend stock; as long as people keep eating, ADM will make money. Analysts expect earnings to rise in 2020 despite the disruptions in the food supply chain.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45
Dividend yield: 3.7%

AT&T (T)

The king of the dividend aristocrats in terms of dividend yield is the telecom AT&T, yielding nearly 7% annually. With AT&T an already entrenched player in an oligopolistic market, the rise of smartphones has given the major carriers even more staying power. Many investors buy AT&T stock with the mindset of a bondholder: Give me a juicy quarterly income check and I'll be happy! With rates so incredibly low -- the 10-year yield fell below the 1% level -- AT&T's payout still dwarfs Treasury bonds.

Sector: Communication services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 35
Dividend yield: 6.7%

Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO)

New to the list in 2020 despite a 32-year track record of dividend increases, natural gas utility Atmos Energy joined the S&P 500 in 2019, replacing Newfield Exploration. Atmos, which has a sustainable dividend payout ratio of 48%, has posted impressive price gains and little volatility over the years, and it makes sense why. The company distributes natural gas to more than 3 million customers in eight states through its underground infrastructure, spanning more than 70,000 miles. It's not so easy for competitors to muscle in on that business, and ATO offers pipeline and storage services for the energy industry as well.

Sector: Utilities
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32
Dividend yield: 2.2%

Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

Who would've thought it possible to build a business valued at more than $60 billion around human resources? In a way, that's precisely what ADP has done; ADP is one of the go-to providers for mid- to large-size companies that want to streamline HR. Its cloud-based software solutions run the gamut from payroll to compliance, plus benefits and other HR-related services. It also helps companies find talent quickly through its outsourcing division and, importantly, earns interest on the funds it holds for clients. This "float" is then invested in low-risk debt instruments.

Sector: Technology
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45
Dividend yield: 2.5%

Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BDX)

For a $70 billion company, Becton Dickinson flies under the radar. The company, which was founded in 1897, makes medical supplies and diagnostic equipment. It would require a novella to detail everything BDX produces, but its products range from syringes and antiseptic products to testing systems for women's health and kits for cellular analysis. This is a great industry in which to be a dominant player, especially as baby boomers age and health care demand surges. The best dividend stocks tend to be proven players, and BDX definitely checks that box.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48
Dividend yield: 1.3%

Brown-Forman Corp. (BF.B)

Who would have guessed that people like to get drunk? Brown-Forman Corp. seems to have been privy to that information since 1870, when it was founded. While its most notable and storied brands are Jack Daniel's and Woodford Reserve, it doesn't limit its market to whiskey. The company also produces Champagne, vodka, tequila, brandy and other spirits under a variety of brands. While scaling production of aged whiskey might not be too scalable as a business, it's certainly durable over time and tends to hold up through good times and bad.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 35
Dividend yield: 1.1%

Cardinal Health (CAH)

It's no wonder a company like Cardinal Health made it onto the S&P 500 dividend aristocrats list -- the company plays a vital role in the health care sector, distributing medication (generic, branded and over-the-counter) through its sprawling distribution network so it can get to the consumer. CAH also takes advantage of its logistics network by making its own medical products, which range from anesthesia masks to gloves and walkers. Cardinal has also monetized its expertise by offering consulting services for retail pharmacies, insurers and other health care stakeholders.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32
Dividend yield: 3.6%

Carrier Global Corp. (CARR)

New to the list in 2020, Carrier was spun off from United Technologies in 2020 so the company could merge with Raytheon. Carrier, a leading provider of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, has a storied history dating back to 1902, when Willis Carrier invented air conditioning. Today, Carrier also offers transport refrigeration and commercial refrigeration services that are vital to the safe delivery and consumption of various foods, beverages and medicines. Oddly, although Carrier was grandfathered in to the dividend aristocrats list, the company, which was expected to declare a dividend upon its 2020 spinoff, has not yet done so. As such, CARR's inclusion on this list may be short-lived.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: none yet announced

Caterpillar (CAT)

Caterpillar is the ultimate industrial company, a business whose name has become synonymous with heavy-duty machinery. CAT's machinery is key to core sectors of the economy like construction, homebuilding and mining. It's also the world's leading manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engines and diesel-electric locomotives, making Caterpillar vital to transportation as well. The company uses its high-dollar products to its advantage through its financing arm. Founded in 1925, this Deerfield, Illinois-based company is considered a cyclical stock, so take that into consideration before investing. Its payout ratio currently stands around 42%.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: 3.4%

Chevron Corp. (CVX)

A giant of the oil and gas space, Chevron does it all -- which is precisely why it has been able to weather a severe multiyear commodities bear market, increasing its dividend the whole time while remaining profitable. Shareholders like a dividend aristocrat of Chevron's size (more than $170 billion) for exactly that reason: It can survive anything. Its diversified operations also don't hurt. CVX does oil and gas exploring, drilling and production, transportation, refining, marketing and distribution. That vertical integration and scale means more safety for shareholders. Chevron's dividend is more at risk than the average stock on this list, currently paying out double what it earns in dividends alone.

Sector: Energy
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 32
Dividend yield: 5.6%

Chubb (CB)

A roughly $55 billion insurance and reinsurance powerhouse, Chubb offers property and casualty insurance, as well as life insurance and agricultural insurance. Founded in 1985 and formerly called ACE Limited, CB is one of the newer dividend aristocrats on the list. It employs about 33,000 globally. Revenue tends to grow in the mid-single digits annually, and after a brief pullback in earnings, analysts expect profits to rise again in 2021.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: 2.6%

Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF)

This $10 billion property and casualty insurance company has been prioritizing dividend growth since John Kennedy was in the White House. Sure, it's one of the smaller dividend aristocrats you'll come across -- all things being equal, a larger-sized company is a safer investment -- but it's a conservatively run business with a long track record of moderate but reliable single-digit revenue growth. While most of CINF's revenue comes from premiums, it also earns meaningful investment income, although 2020's declining interest rates won't help that line of business.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 59
Dividend yield: 4%

Cintas Corp. (CTAS)

Arguably one of the most mundane businesses among the dividend aristocrats, Cintas makes its living by making clothes for people making livings. It's a corporate uniform company. Yawn yourself to sleep on this company at your own risk, however; shares have catapulted from about $24 in 2010 to the $250 range 10 years later. The Cincinnati-based company also makes restroom cleaning supplies, rents and services uniforms and makes fire-retardant clothing and products. Maybe CTAS has competitors ignoring it, too, because 36 years of dividend growth doesn't lie.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 36
Dividend yield: 1%

The Clorox Co. (CLX)

Clorox has followed the tried-and-true formula of building and accumulating a diversified group of consumer brands. Millions of American households keep at least one Clorox product stocked at any time, irrespective of the economy. Doing laundry, keeping your house in a livable condition, drinking clean water -- these are timeless human activities. CLX addresses them, though, through its namesake Clorox brand, as well as other brands like Pine-Sol, Formula 409, Brita, Glad and Kingsford. In other words, you can take Clorox and its 2.2% dividend to the bank.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43
Dividend yield: 2.2%

The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)

There seems to be a trend here. The world's most valuable brands are curiously overrepresented among stocks that have raised dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. There's a reason for that. Consumers buy, year after year, branded products that they know and trust -- and Coca-Cola's been building its brand since 1886. This Dow 30 blue-chip stock has an impressive array of beverage brands besides the one with its namesake, including Sprite, Fanta, Dasani and Minute Maid. But its heavy concentration in the soda category, which is in secular decline, threatens to keep depleting KO sales.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 58
Dividend yield: 3.5%

Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL)

This New York-based consumer goods company is easily the oldest of the dividend aristocrats, founded in 1806, just 30 years after the birth of America. This says something interesting about Colgate. Dividend aristocrats, by definition, are elite, cash-generating companies that also manage to weather multiple economic downturns -- expanding their business and increasing dividend payments all the while. CL's more than 200-year record proves something else: There is something fundamentally safe and reliable about what it does. Colgate's portfolio of brand-name oral, personal and home care products (think laundry, soap, laundry detergent) are necessities in any economy. That's its secret.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 57
Dividend yield: 2.4%

Consolidated Edison (ED)

This utility, founded in 1884, serves about 3.5 million customers in New York City and the surrounding area. Consolidated Edison sells electricity and gas to residential, commercial, industrial and government clients. The utilities industry is one of the most ideal types of dividend-paying stocks for long-term investors to buy, simply because utilities like ED are literally granted monopolies by the government. It's tough to see ED ever going under, and although margins will never be insane, steady, government-guaranteed profitability is hard to come by. Recent insider buying is also a bullish indicator.

Sector: Utilities
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 45
Dividend yield: 4.1%

Dover Corp. (DOV)

Why is it that sleepy industrials like DOV tend to both churn out cash and get no respect from investors? Dover is the Rodney Dangerfield of dividend stocks. Trading around 20 times earnings, this overlooked steady Eddie makes and services equipment for the consumer goods, printing and industrial end markets, among others. You've probably unwittingly used a Dover-made product while fueling up your car; Dover also makes products that safely handle gases and fluids. Another one of its business segments supplies commercial refrigeration and food equipment -- necessary products that are invisible to most everyday consumers.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 64
Dividend yield: 2%

Ecolab (ECL)

"We do hygiene stuff," isn't the catchiest slogan (or catchy at all), but it pretty well sums up what Ecolab is all about. It processes, sanitizes and treats water for all sorts of industrial customers that use water in their daily operations, from commercial laundry companies to oil drillers to food and beverage processors. ECL is the company that cares about keeping fast food places as clean as possible; Ecolab sells the supplies, after all. If you're not already feeling grateful Ecolab exists, it also provides pest elimination services for restaurants, food processing centers and hotels.

Sector: Basic materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 34
Dividend yield: 0.9%

Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)

An industrial quietly and reliably humming year after year and printing out greenbacks for investors is Emerson Electric, which not only boasts a solid dividend, but also has boosted its payout for a remarkable 63 years in a row. It makes valves, measurement and analytical instruments, process and control systems and the like that are used in industries ranging from oil and gas to power generation. EMR also makes air conditioners, thermostats and water heaters for commercial and residential customers.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 63
Dividend yield: 3.3%

Essex Property Trust (ESS)

New to the list in 2020, residential real estate investment trust Essex Property Trust just hit the quarter-century mark for consecutive dividend increases. Shares had been enjoying steady and relatively consistent long-term gains until the tumult of 2020 threw a wrench in that trend. Although long-term shareholders have still been amply rewarded -- its March 2020 low around $175 is roughly triple the $60 level it traded at in 2010 -- the stock has been more volatile than usual this year. ESS focuses on acquiring, redeveloping and managing multifamily apartment complexes on the West Coast. It owns parts of 250 different communities, with heavy exposure to San Francisco and Seattle.

Sector: Real estate
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25
Dividend yield: 3.4%

Expeditors International of Washington (EXPD)

New to the list in 2020, diversified freight and logistics company Expeditors International may not have the most impressive yield you've ever seen, but its balance sheet is to die for. Seeing companies with zero long-term debt on their books is unusual in the first place, but in these newly uncertain times, EXPD's liquidity offers investors more evidence of its low-risk nature than the dividend history alone could. Founded in 1979, EXPD provides air freight and ocean freight services all around the globe, with other services including warehousing, purchase order management and customs clearance to boot.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25
Dividend yield: 1.4%

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)

Exxon is one of the 30 most valuable companies in the world and, like its rival Chevron, is a major integrated oil and gas giant engaged in upstream, midstream and downstream operations. The global energy conglomerate has proved reserves of 22.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels, giving a floor to the company's value, which is currently about $200 billion. The somewhat surprising bounce back of oil prices in 2017-2018 benefited Exxon handsomely, reversing a streak of falling revenue. Sure, XOM is somewhat subject to the whims of energy markets, but a 7%-plus dividend is tough to find.

Sector: Energy
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 37
Dividend yield: 7.5%

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)

If you're buying into FRT, you're buying into the cash flow associated with being a landlord. Unlike most other dividend aristocrats, FRT is a real estate investment trust, which quite literally requires it to pay out 90% of its income in dividends. By adopting this structure, the REIT is no longer required to pay corporate taxes. FRT's portfolio consists of high-quality retail locations in dense, high-rent urban markets. Management has also been careful to diversify, and no single tenant accounts for more than 3% of its annualized rent receipts.

Sector: Real estate
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 52
Dividend yield: 5%

Franklin Resources (BEN)

One of the leading investment managers around, Franklin Resources is a strangely named company that mostly does business under Franklin Templeton Investments. Its long operating history, global presence and the mug of Benjamin Franklin in the company's logo are all assets that speak to its blue-chip image. With more than $700 billion in assets under management, the vast majority of BEN's revenue comes from investment management fees. After the 2017 tax cut bill passed, Franklin Resources issued a special dividend of $3 per share and approved an additional 80 million share buyback plan.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 38
Dividend yield: 5.5%

General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

General Dynamics is a great example of a business that is practically built from the ground up to be around for the long term -- something income investors are keenly interested in when they look to the equities market. A defense and aerospace contractor, this company primarily relies on long-term contracts with the government, aerospace and other military-industrial participants. GD products include nuclear submarines, combat vehicles, weapons systems and Gulfstream jets.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 28
Dividend yield: 3%

Genuine Parts Co. (GPC)

The Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Co. makes and distributes replacement auto parts as well as industrial parts like bearings, hoses and hydraulic components. It has an international presence and also operates under the Napa Auto Parts brand, with more than 1,100 retail stores. At a roughly $12 billion valuation, GPC is somehow worth less than its sales, which clocked in at more than $19 billion in the last year.

Sector: Consumer cyclical
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 64
Dividend yield: 3.7%

Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL)

This nearly $26 billion company makes a wide variety of foods -- largely meat-based -- that you can likely find at your local grocery store, if not in your own refrigerator. Famously, it's the company behind Spam, but it also makes refrigerated and frozen meats like chicken nuggets, bacon, turkey and various other carnivorous mainstays. Founded in 1891, Hormel has an international reach. The company also manufactures Skippy peanut butter and other complementary nonmeat products like tortillas. Even when times are hard, people have to eat -- and hunger is Hormel's "bread and butter." Income investors should appreciate its stable business and sustainable, enduring dividend.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 54
Dividend yield: 1.9%

Illinois Tool Works (ITW)

This $54 billion manufacturer is the archetypal diversified industrial company, producing all sorts of gadgets, gizmos, parts, polymers and products for a variety of end users. Its largest operation is the OEM automotive division, but its fingerprints are all over the economy. From food equipment to construction products, Illinois Tool Works practically does it all. ITW may not be the sexiest stock in the book, but with a presence in 57 countries, about 45,000 employees worldwide and roots going back to 1912, it has proven itself a reliable cash cow, churning out regular dividends for shareholders.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 56
Dividend yield: 2.5%

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

There aren't many no-brainers on Wall Street, but Johnson & Johnson is about as close as it comes. This New Jersey conglomerate was founded in 1885 and today is an absolute corporate behemoth, with operations in the pharmaceutical, consumer goods and medical devices segments. Its portfolio of consumer brands is mind-boggling and includes Listerine, Aveeno, Neutrogena, Tylenol, Sudafed, Benadryl, Zyrtec and Band-Aid. The real growth (and margins) are in pharmaceuticals, where JNJ recently bought European giant Actelion for $30 billion. This Dow 30 company is both a juicy dividend stock and a stable powerhouse.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 57
Dividend yield: 2.7%

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB)

If you owned shares of a business that reached nearly a quarter of the world's population every day, you might expect it to return some of its spoils to you directly. That's exactly what consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark has been doing for decades, growing its dividend for 47 years. Some of KMB's brands include Depend, Huggies, Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott and Kotex. The Dallas-based company has been going strong since 1872.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 3%

Leggett & Platt (LEG)

Functioning at times more like an industrial than a consumer goods company, Leggett & Platt is another one of America's best dividend stocks -- not just because of its almost half-century of growing dividend payments but also its existential duration. Founded in 1883, LEG makes bedding products for consumers, home and office furniture, steel wire products, seating support for the auto industry and OEM parts for the aerospace industry. LEG is focused on growing revenue between 6% and 9% annually, in perpetuity.

Sector: Consumer cyclical
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48
Dividend yield: 5%

Linde (LIN)

Like a handful of other companies on this list, Linde is one of the largely unseen cogs in the global economic machine, offering essential but largely overlooked products and services. Linde makes and distributes atmospheric gases: oxygen, nitrogen, helium, argon, other rare gases -- you name it. Like carbonated beverages or clean tap water? Linde makes both of those possible, as the company produces equipment used in water treatment plants. LIN also serves a number of other industries, including oil refining, steel production and fiber optics companies.

Sector: Materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 27
Dividend yield: 1.9%

Lowe's Companies (LOW)

Lowe's is one of the two major home-improvement retailers in the U.S. and has been steadily growing for decades. It has become a go-to supplier for contractors, plumbers, carpenters and do-it-yourselfers, hawking lumber, drywall, paint, tools, gardening supplies and plants and many other items. It's true that LOW tends to be a cyclical stock -- doing particularly well in upswings and suffering in downturns as the housing market and spending on remodeling wax and wane -- but the company's existence itself is unlikely to be threatened anytime soon.

Sector: Consumer cyclical
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 58
Dividend yield: 1.7%

McCormick & Co. (MKC)

McCormick is all about its spices. You probably are, too. Aside from its own brand, it also owns brands like Frank's RedHot, Old Bay and French's. Born in Baltimore in 1889, McCormick today has tentacles in China, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. By acquiring RB Foods and Giotti in recent years, it has realized new synergies and expanded margins. In addition to its consumer business, McCormick also has an industrial segment, selling to commercial food suppliers. Resistant to downturns, conservative investors will find MKC a delicious potential addition to their portfolio.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 34
Dividend yield: 1.4%

McDonald's Corp. (MCD)

Is it any wonder that the company behind the Quarter Pounder and McFlurry can whip up cash just as efficiently as it churns out cheeseburgers? Those famous golden arches constitute one of the most powerful brands on the planet, but it wasn't until recently that MCD shareholders were really getting the most out of the company's unmatched scale and image. CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took the reins in 2015, has led a remarkable turnaround, focusing on all-day breakfast, menu simplification, mobile ordering and, now, delivery. Shares gained 50% in the following three years.

Sector: Consumer cyclical
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43
Dividend yield: 2.7%

Medtronic (MDT)

This $120 billion company is one of the biggest players in medical technology, supplying advanced equipment, products and services to hospitals, nursing homes and other stakeholders in the health care community. Somewhat like Abbott, another of the elite dividend stocks on this list, MDT is quite well-diversified. Its largest segment is the cardiac and vascular group, followed by its minimally invasive therapies group, restorative therapies group and diabetes division. As with Abbott, Medtronic's innovation has saved countless lives. Some examples of its products include heart valves, drug infusion systems for chronic pain and bone grafting technology.

Sector: Health care
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 42
Dividend yield: 2.4%

Nucor Corp. (NUE)

This Charlotte, North Carolina-based steel manufacturer isn't as storied as some of the other dividend aristocrats on this list, but it's no baby either, having been started 80 years ago in 1940. As the largest U.S. steel producer, NUE stands to benefit from the Trump administration's "America First" policies, with steel and aluminum tariffs designed to level the playing field and handicap Nucor's foreign competitors. The other good news is that NUE paid out less than 40% of its earnings as a dividend, leaving room to finance future dividend growth even in a downturn like 2020.

Sector: Basic materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46
Dividend yield: 3.8%

Otis Worldwide (OTIS)

Another of the additions to the S&P dividend aristocrats in 2020 is Otis Worldwide, which was spun off from United Technologies just like Carrier Global as its former parent company sought to become a purer play on aerospace and defense ahead of its merger with Raytheon. Otis itself is the leading maker of elevators and escalators, and the company enjoys the recurring revenue that comes with servicing its machinery over time. Founded in 1853, Otis' pre-Civil War roots make it one of the oldest companies on this list. In its first year as a public company, Otis' dividend should prove plenty sustainable, with a payout ratio somewhere around 40%.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: 1.5%

Pentair (PNR)

It might not seem like Pentair's 2% yield is anything to write home about, but the company recently showed its devout attention to shareholder interests by spinning off its electrical business, nVent Electric (NVT), and giving investors one share of NVT for every share of PNR they owned. Spinoffs often unlock value for shareholders as the separately managed companies can concentrate more on their area of expertise. Pentair itself can now focus on what it does best: water treatment.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 43
Dividend yield: 2%

People's United Financial (PBCT)

One of the newest dividend stocks to be added to this elite list, this regional bank happens to be both one of the smallest businesses on this list ($5 billion market cap) and one of the most impressive yielders (6.1%). The regional bank operates out of the Northeast, offering both retail and commercial banking to its customers. With services like wealth management also helping to diversify its business, the holding company for People's United Bank has been going strong since 1842.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: 6.1%

PepsiCo (PEP)

This $185 billion beverage and snacks giant clearly has one of the most enviable brands in the world, with millions of loyal consumers and a sustainable business that has been going strong since 1898. It's easy to see how it could go for another 100 years, and that's what long-term investors want to see in blue-chip dividend stocks. PepsiCo is also far more diversified than its rival Coca-Cola (KO), namely because of its thriving snacks business, with brands like Lay's, Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Ruffles and more.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 3.1%

PPG Industries (PPG)

There's a reason PPG Industries weathered every recession since its inception in 1883 and managed to raise its dividend for nearly a half-century: Paint and coatings are eternally in demand. It's in this humble niche that PPG carved out a place for itself, and today the company sells its chemicals and sealants to large customers in all parts of the economy, but most notably the automotive, aerospace and manufacturing industries. Revenue is around $15 billion annually.

Sector: Basic materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48
Dividend yield: 2%

Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)

A storied member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Procter & Gamble has been a blue-chip stock practically since time immemorial. Founded in 1837, P&G has diligently built a diversified, high-quality stable of well-known consumer brands, as well as relationships with retailers and distributors that, when combined, are almost impossible to compete with. Strong brands can instantly earn shelf space and command price premiums to less trusted generic competitors. Procter & Gamble's brand portfolio is jaw-dropping and includes Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Downy, Febreze, Gillette, Olay, Old Spice, Oral-B, Pampers, Swiffer, Tampax and Tide.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 63
Dividend yield: 2.7%

Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX)

Another fresh addition to the S&P 500 dividend aristocrats club is the newly formed Raytheon, a mash-up between defense heavyweights United Technologies and Raytheon. The formidable size of the new $100 billion company may be apparent by the fact that the two companies United Technologies spun off, Otis and Carrier Global, are also on this list. While RTX certainly doesn't benefit from the travel industry's woes -- aircraft engines and components are a meaningful part of its business -- the company is one of the major defense contractors, and Raytheon's missile defense systems, precision weapons and cyberwarfare solutions are crucial to U.S. national security.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 26
Dividend yield: 3%

Realty Income Corp. (O)

This will be Realty Income's first year as a dividend aristocrat, hitting the quarter-century mark with its annual streak of dividend increases in 2020. Although the company is devoted to providing regular, sustainable monthly income to investors -- it pays a monthly dividend instead of a quarterly one -- it's imprudent to ignore the risks that this retail REIT faces. LA Fitness, AMC Theaters (AMC) and Regal Cinemas are each among its top 10 tenants. Realty Income has a diversified portfolio of commercial tenants and an impressive track record, but the sudden risk to retail that emerged in 2020 shouldn't be overlooked.

Sector: Real estate
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25
Dividend yield: 5%

Roper Technologies (ROP)

Here is the rare business that truly flirts with classification in two different sectors: technology and industrials. The company apparently thinks it's more the former, signified by its name change in 2015 from Roper Industries to Roper Technologies. Regardless, ROP provides some vital tech-based products and services, with its largest division being RF Technology & Software, whose cash cow is radio frequency identification tech. RFID chips are subtly quite vital to modern life, as essential components of credit card readers, toll systems, security cards and the like. ROP also does medical imaging, industrial tech and energy controls.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 27
Dividend yield: 0.5%

Ross Stores (ROST)

The year 2020 is the first time discount retailer Ross Stores makes the dividend aritsocrats list. Unfortunately, it may also be the last: The company suspended its dividend in May in an abundance of caution after reporting a loss of more than $300 million in the first quarter. Sadly, ROST's history did jibe with the ethos of the typical dividend aristocrat: It had a strong track record of weathering tough economic climates. In the 2008 recession, the stock shone, adding 17.6% as the broader S&P 500 Index lost nearly 39%. The sudden, widespread economic shutdown in 2020 hasn't been quite as kind to ROST, and it's best to consider ROST an aristocrat in name only.

Sector: Consumer discretionary
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 25
Dividend yield: N/A (suspended)

S&P Global (SPGI)

Boy, is it nice to have a brand name like S&P. Along with Moody's and Fitch Ratings, it's a thriving member of the oligopoly known as the credit rating industry. It also happens to run the S&P 500 -- that little thing all 60-plus dividend aristocrats must belong to. SPGI makes a pretty penny licensing out its financial data (or "market intelligence," as the company calls it). The company also offers many exchange-traded funds to track its own indexes, earning handsome asset management fees. Oh, and when volatility spikes, so does revenue from its exchange-traded derivatives business.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 46
Dividend yield: 0.8%

The Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW)

Do you know why you know the name of this company? Because your parents did. And your grandparents. And your great-grandparents. Sherwin-Williams has been going strong since the year after the Civil War. Now an international affair, SHW isn't your average paint company, operating more than 4,900 of its own stores. It also makes all sorts of wood finishing and preservative products and even has an industrial-facing division that provides the goods for tasks like automotive refinishing.

Sector: Basic materials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 40
Dividend yield: 0.9%

Stanley Black & Decker (SWK)

One of the classic all-American companies in the stock market, this maker of power tools and storage products has been around since 1843. Again, for investors seeking some peace of mind in their portfolio, SWK's business is about as rock-solid as they come -- and still it's growing. Powered by its own strong brand -- as well as a portfolio of enviable names like DeWalt, Craftsman and Bostitch -- Stanley Black & Decker is still capable of regular but modest earnings per share growth around 5% annually.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 52
Dividend yield: 2.2%

Sysco Corp. (SYY)

Sysco is the largest wholesale food company in the U.S. With a market cap around $30 billion, SYY is worth more than four times its closest publicly traded direct competitor, US Foods (USFD). It's possible you've avoided Sysco's products by living under a rock and harvesting crawfish from your local stream, but it's far more likely that SYY has supplied a restaurant, hotel, college or hospital you've patronized. The company's competitive advantage is its distribution system, which traffics Sysco's many product categories, including meat and poultry, seafood, dairy, produce and even cleaning supplies like mops and chemicals.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 50
Dividend yield: 3.2%

T. Rowe Price Group (TROW)

One of the biggest names in the investment industry, T. Rowe Price offers investment-management products and services for individuals, retirement plans and institutions. Another great source of income for TROW and its investors are the many mutual funds that it launches and manages. It also occasionally invests small amounts -- between $3 million and $5 million -- in late-stage venture capital opportunities. With $1 trillion in assets under management and a global presence, it's safe to say this financial manager isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Sector: Financial services
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 33
Dividend yield: 3%

Target Corp. (TGT)

Most average consumers are familiar with Target, the second-largest big-box retailer behind Walmart. While Wall Street often thinks of TGT as the second fiddle in a brick-and-mortar retail industry that's already under siege by e-commerce, that view ignores the simple fact that Target is a golden goose still laying eggs. You can typically count on Target, which has about 1,850 U.S. stores and 360,000 employees globally, to post sales of about $80 billion and earnings between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion each year.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48
Dividend yield: 2.2%

VF Corp. (VFC)

It takes something special to be a traditional player in the retail business that not only survives but thrives in the age of Amazon.com (AMZN). But that sums up VF Corp. pretty nicely, a company that many consumers have never heard of (but have frequented nonetheless). A lifestyle apparel manufacturer founded in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1899, VFC has a surprising potpourri of impressive and diverse name brands, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, JanSport, Eastpak, Wrangler, Lee and Dickies, just to name a few. Since January 2009, VFC stock is up more than 800%.

Sector: Consumer cyclical
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 3.3%

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

Walgreens has been aggressively expanding in recent years. Back when WBA was founded in 1901, the competitive landscape was decentralized, with a local pharmacy on practically every other block. Today, Walgreens and CVS Health (CVS) basically enjoy a duopoly, and in 2015, Walgreens bought European health and beauty retailer Boots Alliance. In 2017, it acquired nearly 2,000 Rite Aid (RAD) stores and, separately, a 40% stake in Chinese pharmacy Sinopharm. Not only is WBA a great dividend stock, but the company is becoming more diversified and powerful.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 44
Dividend yield: 4.2%

Walmart (WMT)

Ah, Walmart. It's tough to think of a more all-American dividend stock. And even with a rival like Amazon to compete against, there's no need to worry about the success or durability of WMT, one of the 20 largest companies in the world and a company that boasted more than $500 billion in sales last year. With a renewed focus on e-commerce, Walmart grew online sales by 37% last year. The purchase of India's largest e-commerce store, Flipkart, should also buoy growth.

Sector: Consumer defensive
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 47
Dividend yield: 1.7%

W.W. Grainger (GWW)

If something breaks down, W.W. Grainger has your back. This storied industrial supplies company sells everything from power tools, gloves and janitorial supplies to HVAC, lighting materials and paint. Plumbers, carpenters, contractors, repairmen and average consumers use W.W. Grainger's products every day, and not just in America -- this Lake Forest, Illinois-based company has gone global, selling all over Asia, Europe, Canada and Latin America. The company is known for its commitment to quality, so it's only fitting that GWW is one of the best, most reliable dividend stocks out there.

Sector: Industrials
Consecutive annual dividend increases: 48
Dividend yield: 1.9%

A complete list of dividend aristocrats.

To review, here's a complete list of the "dividend aristocrats," the only companies in the S&P 500 that have raised dividends for 25 straight years:

-- 3M (MMM)

-- A.O. Smith Corp. (AOS)

-- Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

-- AbbVie (ABBV)

-- Aflac (AFL)

-- Air Products & Chemicals (APD)

-- Albemarle Corp. (ALB)

-- Amcor PLC (AMCR)

-- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM)

-- AT&T (T)

-- Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO)

-- Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

-- Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BDX)

-- Brown-Forman Corp. (BF.B)

-- Cardinal Health (CAH)

-- Carrier Global (CARR)

-- Caterpillar (CAT)

-- Chevron Corp. (CVX)

-- Chubb (CB)

-- Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF)

-- Cintas Corp. (CTAS)

-- The Clorox Co. (CLX)

-- The Coca-Cola Co. (KO)

-- Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL)

-- Consolidated Edison (ED)

-- Dover Corp. (DOV)

-- Ecolab (ECL)

-- Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)

-- Essex Property Trust (ESS)

-- Expeditors International of Washington (EXPD)

-- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)

-- Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT)

-- Franklin Resources (BEN)

-- General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

-- Genuine Parts Co. (GPC)

-- Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL)

-- Illinois Tool Works (ITW)

-- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

-- Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB)

-- Leggett & Platt (LEG)

-- Linde (LIN)

-- Lowe's Companies (LOW)

-- McCormick & Co. (MKC)

-- McDonald's Corp. (MCD)

-- Medtronic (MDT)

-- Nucor Corp. (NUE)

-- Otis Worldwide (OTIS)

-- Pentair (PNR)

-- People's United Financial (PBCT)

-- PepsiCo (PEP)

-- PPG Industries (PPG)

-- Procter & Gamble Co. (PG)

-- Raytheon Technologies (RTX)

-- Realty Income Corp. (O)

-- Roper Technologies (ROP)

-- Ross Stores (ROST)

-- S&P Global (SPGI)

-- The Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW)

-- Stanley Black & Decker (SWK)

-- Sysco Corp. (SYY)

-- T. Rowe Price Group (TROW)

-- Target Corp. (TGT)

-- VF Corp. (VFC)

-- W.W. Grainger (GWW)

-- Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

-- Walmart (WMT)



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