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Dividend Growth Stocks: 25 Aristocrats

In this article, we discuss 25 dividend aristocrat stocks. You can skip our detailed analysis of dividend aristocrats and their performance over the years, and go directly to read Dividend Growth Stocks: 10 Aristocrats.

Dividend investing is a specialized approach that yields rewards primarily for patient investors and may not suit everyone. When investing in dividend stocks, seasoned investors pay attention to growth in their payouts over the years. Through this, they aim to benefit through a combination of growing income stream, capital appreciation, and protection against inflation. Returns of dividend growth stocks have surpassed those without any growth tracks. In our article titled 25 Things Every Dividend Investor Should Know, we mentioned RMB Capital’s research which revealed that dividend growers achieved a positive return of 9.62% from 1972 until December 31, 2018. In contrast, dividend cutters experienced a negative return of 0.79% during the same period.

According to a report by Hartford Funds, dividend growers exhibited lower volatility over the last 50 years. Due to this, many financial experts are now recommending the inclusion of dividend-paying stocks as a fundamental part of equity portfolios for their clients. The consistent growth and stability of dividends make them an attractive option for investors seeking reliable long-term returns. From 1973 to 2022, dividend growers and initiators delivered a 10.24% return to shareholders, whereas dividend payers and dividend non-payers returned 9.18% and -0.60%, respectively. To learn more about dividend growth stocks, have a look at 12 Dividend Kings To Buy For Safe Dividend Growth.

Dividend aristocrat stocks are excellent choices for dividend growth investment due to their consistent and impressive track record of increasing dividends over an extended period. These S&P 500 companies have raised their payouts for 25 years or more and have stable cash flows which highlights their ability to increase dividends in the future as well. Last year’s inflation affected almost every sector, but dividend aristocrats performed better than most other types of investments. Though the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat index also ended the year with losses, it still managed to outperform the S&P 500, which recorded its worst performance since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL), and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) are some of the best dividend aristocrat stocks that have decades-long dividend growth streaks. These companies have proven their resilience through various economic cycles and remained some of the top choices for investors.

Dividend Growth Stocks: 25 Aristocrats
Dividend Growth Stocks: 25 Aristocrats

Image by Sergei Tokmakov Terms.Law from Pixabay

Our Methodology:

For this list, we examined the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat index, which includes companies that have consistently increased their dividends for 25 years or more. From this index, we chose the top 25 companies with the highest annual dividend growth rates over the past five years. These growth rates range from 6% and go up to 16%.

We also considered hedge fund sentiment around each stock in Insider Monkey's database, as of the first quarter of 2023. The stocks are ranked in ascending order of their annual average dividend growth in the past five years.

25. Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.1%

Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE) is an American steel production company that specializes in the manufacturing of steel bars, beams, sheet steel, and other steel products. On June 8, the company announced a quarterly dividend of $0.51 per share, which was in line with its previous dividend. The company maintains a 50-year streak of consistent dividend growth. With 5-year annual dividend growth of 6.1%, NUE is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list. The stock has a dividend yield of 1.22%, as of July 25.

Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE) recently announced its Q2 2023 earnings and exhibited a strong cash position. During the quarter, it returned $580 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

At the end of Q1 2023, 39 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database reported having stakes in Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE), worth collectively over $440.2 million.

24. Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.1%

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) is an Illinois-based multinational food processing and commodities trading corporation. The company is one of the world's largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers.

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list with 50 years of consecutive dividend growth under its belt. In the past five years, it has raised its payouts by 6.1% annually. The company offers a quarterly dividend of $0.45 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.17%, as recorded on July 25.

As of the close of Q1 2023, 39 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey owned stakes in Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (NYSE:ADM), compared with 40 a quarter earlier. These stakes have a consolidated value of over $751.4 million.

23. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.2%

An American multinational energy company, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is next on our list of the best dividend aristocrat stocks. The company has been rewarding shareholders with growing dividends for 36 consecutive years and also distributes billions in dividend payments each quarter. In its recently announced Q2 earnings, the company highlighted that it returned $2.8 billion to shareholders through dividends.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) currently pays a quarterly dividend of $1.15 per share and its dividend yield on July 25 came in at 3.73%.

At the end of Q1 2023, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) saw growth in hedge fund positions to 64 from 57 in the previous quarter, according to Insider Monkey's database. The overall value of stakes owned by these hedge funds is more than $23.6 billion.

22. W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.5%

W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW) is an American company that supplies maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products. The company also serves businesses and institutions across various industries. It offers a quarterly dividend of $1.86 per share, having raised it by 8% in April this year. This marked the company's 53rd consecutive year of dividend growth. With a 5-year dividend growth rate of 6.5%, GWW is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list. Its dividend yield on July 25 stood at 0.97%.

At the end of March 2023, 32 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database were reported holding stakes in W.W. Grainger, Inc. (NYSE:GWW), with a collective value of roughly $286 million.

21. Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.7%

An American medical device company, Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT) is one of the strongest dividend payers in the stock market. The company has annually raised its dividends by 6.7% in the past five years and its overall dividend growth streak stands at 46 years. It currently pays a quarterly dividend of $0.69 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.11%, as recorded on July 25.

Of the 943 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database, 52 funds reported having stakes in Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT) in Q1 2023, valued collectively at over $1.64 billion.

20. Sysco Corporation (NYSE:SYY)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 6.8%

Sysco Corporation (NYSE:SYY) is a Texas-based company that specializes in the marketing and distribution of food products, kitchen equipment, and other related products. On April 27, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share, having raised it by 2%. It has raised its payouts for 54 years in a row, which makes it one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list. The stock has a dividend yield of 2.64%, as of July 25.

The number of hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey owning stakes in Sysco Corporation (NYSE:SYY) stood at 34 in Q1 2023. These stakes have a total value of over $610.7 million. With roughly 1.7 million shares, D E Shaw was the company's leading stakeholder in Q1.

19. Cincinnati Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CINF)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 7.2%

Cincinnati Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CINF) is an American property and casualty insurance company, which provides a range of insurance products and services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations. In January 2023, the company raised its dividend for the 62nd consecutive year. It currently pays a quarterly dividend of $0.75 per share and offers a dividend yield of 2.92%, as of July 25. With a 5-year annual dividend growth of 7.2%, CINF is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list.

As of the close of Q1 2023, 30 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database owned investments in Cincinnati Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CINF), growing from 20 in the previous quarter. The stakes held by these funds have a total value of $232.2 million.

18. General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 7.3%

General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) is next on our list of the best dividend aristocrat stocks. The company specializes in products and services related to defense and aerospace. On June 7, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $1.32 per share, which was consistent with its previous dividend. In March this year, the company raised its dividend for the 26th consecutive year. GD's dividend yield on July 25 came in at 2.43%.

Insider Monkey's database of Q1 2023 indicated that 43 hedge funds owned stakes in General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), with a collective value of over $7.26 billion. With over 28.2 million shares, Longview Asset Management was the company's leading stakeholder in Q1.

17. Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 8.00%

Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) is a Minnesota-based food company primarily engaged in the production and marketing of various food products. The company pays a quarterly dividend of $0.275 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.71%, as recorded on July 25. In the past five years, it raised its payouts by 8% annually and its dividend growth streak stands at 57 years. It is among the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list.

At the end of Q1 2023, 30 hedge funds owned stakes in Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), up from 28 in the previous quarter, according to Insider Monkey's database. Their collective stake value is over $374 million.

Mairs & Power mentioned Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL) in its Q1 2023 investor letter. Here is what the firm has to say:

“The largest detractors from relative performance in the quarter were US Bank, Charles Schwab, UnitedHealth Group (UNH), and Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL). Finally, Hormel struggled in the first quarter with excess inventories and pricing that has not kept up with peers. We have cautiously added to the position, as it will likely take some time for the management team to get its operations in order.”

16. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 8.5%

An American multinational fast-food chain, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) was a popular stock among hedge funds in Q1 2023 with 64 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey having stakes in the company, up from 57 a quarter earlier. These stakes have a collective value of over $4 billion.

McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list as it has raised its payouts for 46 years running. The company currently pays a quarterly dividend of $1.52 per share and offers a dividend yield of 2.06%, as of July 25.

15. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 8.6%

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) is a Texas-based company that operates in the manufacturing and selling of heavy equipment, machinery, and engines. On June 14, the company raised its quarterly dividend by 8% to $1.30 per share. Through this increase, the company took its dividend growth streak to 29 years, which makes it one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list. Moreover, its annual dividend growth rate in the past five years came in at 8.6%. As of July 25, the stock offers a dividend yield of 2%.

At the end of the first quarter of 2023, 52 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database reported having stakes in Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), up from 50 in the previous quarter. The consolidated value of these stakes is over $2.88 billion.

14. Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 8.8%

Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) is an American natural gas utility company. The company offers a per-share dividend of $0.74 every quarter and has raised its payouts consistently for the past 38 years in a row. The stock's dividend yield on July 25 came in at 2.40%. With 5-year annual dividend growth of 8.8%, ATO is one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks on our list.

The number of hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey having stakes in Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) stood at 21 in Q1 2023. These stakes are collectively worth over $291.7 million. Among these hedge funds, Zimmer Partners was the company's leading stakeholder in Q1.

13. AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 9%

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) is a global biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the research, development, and commercialization of various pharmaceutical products. The company has been growing its dividends consistently for the past 50 years, which makes it one of the best dividend aristocrat stocks. It currently pays a quarterly dividend of $1.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.13%, as of July 25.

As of the close of Q1 2023, AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) was a part of 75 hedge fund portfolios, up from 73 in the previous quarter, according to Insider Monkey's database. The stakes owned by these funds have a collective value of $2.1 billion.

12. Linde plc (NYSE:LIN)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 9.1%

Linde plc (NYSE:LIN) is a global industrial gas and engineering company that provides a wide range of products and services across various industries. On July 25, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $1.275 per share, which was in line with its previous dividend. It has grown its payouts consistently for the past 28 years and in the past five years, its annual dividend growth rate came in at 9.1%. The company's shares offer a dividend yield of 1.14%, as of July 25.

At the end of March 31, 70 hedge funds owned stakes in Linde plc (NYSE:LIN), growing significantly from 56 in the preceding quarter, as per Insider Monkey's database. These stakes are worth over $5.03 billion in total.

11. Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)

5-Year Annual Dividend Growth Rate: 10.1%

Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) ranks 11th on our list of the best dividend aristocrat stocks. The American insurance company has been rewarding shareholders with growing dividends for the past 41 years. It currently pays a quarterly dividend of $0.42 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.32%, as of July 25. In the past five years, the company has annually raised its dividends by 10.1%.

As of the close of Q1 2023, 33 hedge funds in Insider Monkey's database owned stakes in Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL), worth collectively over $313 million.

Click to continue reading and see Dividend Growth Stocks: 10 Aristocrats

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Disclosure. None. Dividend Growth Stocks: 25 Aristocrats is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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