The 3 Best Dividend Aristocrats to Own Today

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As investors seek stable income streams and long-term growth opportunities, these three dividend-aristocrat stocks may be preferable. These companies have demonstrated their commitment to shareholders by consistently increasing dividends for years.

The first stock boasts an impressive 65-year history of dividend increases. The company’s streamlined operations underpin it, focusing on growth markets and anticipating improved demand. In contrast, the second one indicates resilience and positive prospects, with solid sales performance in its U.S. pharmacy and Boots U.K. retail businesses. The third, on the other hand, is a reliable dividend aristocrat with consistent dividend growth. It focuses on risk management and vital investment expansion opportunities.

Investing in dividend aristocrats provides investors with a stable and reliable income stream. It also generates the potential for long-term capital appreciation. The article will explore the companies’ solid fundamentals, strategic initiatives, and market resilience. These elements make them attractive options for investors seeking a balance between dividends and growth.

3M (MMM)

3M (MMM) has a long-standing record of stable dividend growth and a forward yield of 5.99% . Its 65th consecutive year of dividend increases reflects its commitment to delivering value to shareholders.

Additionally, 3M’s proactive measures to streamline and simplify operations. It includes eliminating management layers and reducing corporate shared services to enhance efficiency and agility while driving cost savings. Simplifying the supply chain and adopting a division-led model further aligns the company with customers. It also optimizes go-to-market strategies, improving overall operational performance.

Further, focusing on high-growth markets and material science innovation positions 3M favorably to capitalize on emerging technological trends. Investments in automotive electrification, personal safety, home improvement, semiconductors, and healthcare align with evolving customer needs and drive revenue growth.

Despite a fluid macroeconomic environment, 3M anticipates improved demand as economies recover and supply chains heal. The company’s disciplined cost controls and ongoing investments will support a rebound despite adversity. It includes temporarily soft markets such as consumer retail, consumer electronics, and industrial end-markets.

Looking ahead, several positive factors suggest a bullish outlook for 3M. The company’s ability to navigate headwinds effectively, better-than-forecasted results, and potential for improved global economic conditions contribute to its resilience. Additionally, improving manufacturing and supply chain operations, working capital management and increased capital expenditures for growth and sustainability enhance efficiency, profitability, and competitive edge.

Overall, the strengths in individual business segments, such as organic growth in Safety and Industrial, outperform industry build rates in Transportation and Electronics. Lastly, the expected recovery in healthcare procedure volumes presents further opportunities for growth and market share capture.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) holds a strong lead as a dividend aristocrat with a forward yield of 6.60% and its capital allocation priorities.

The company has demonstrated resilience and potential for future growth despite the challenges. Additionally, it has solid sales performance, particularly in its U.S. pharmacy and Boots U.K. retail businesses. It reflects its ability to adapt to changing market trends and capture market share. 

WBA’s robust sales growth, exceeding expectations and outperforming its plan, showcases its market strength. With its continued script growth and brand inflation, the U.S. pharmacy business is expected to maintain positive momentum. Meanwhile, the Boots U.K. retail business has shown impressive comp sales growth. It also gained market share across all categories, aided by successful product launches.

Further, the scaling healthcare business presents a significant opportunity for WBA’s future profitability, with sales doubling from the previous year. The expansion of VillageMD clinics and adding new health system partners for Shields demonstrate a strong growth trajectory. Although challenges in the respiratory season affected CityMD visits and Summit Health referrals, WBA anticipates improvement in the fourth quarter.

Despite revising its adjusted EPS guidance for fiscal 2023 due to a cautious consumer outlook and the impact of COVID-19, WBA maintains promising long-term prospects. Also, the U.S. retail pharmacy segment is projected to achieve low single-digit sales growth, the international segment is anticipated to grow 6% to 8% on a constant currency basis, and the healthcare business is expected to continue its growth trajectory.

Overall, WBA’s strategic initiatives demonstrate its commitment to enhancing financial performance, including cost management programs, portfolio optimization, and leveraging technology. However, the company’s focus on disciplined returns-based organic investment and debt reduction sets the stage for sustainable growth and improved shareholder value.

Realty Income (O)

Realty Income (O) has an impressive track record as a dividend aristocrat, having increased its dividend for over 25 consecutive years. This consistent dividend growth showcases the company’s commitment to delivering value to its shareholders. With a current annualized dividend of $3.06 per share and an annualized dividend yield of 4.8%, Realty Income offers an attractive income opportunity for investors.

Additionally, the company’s financial performance is also encouraging. In Q1 2023, it reported solid results, including approximately $1.7 billion of high-quality investments acquired at a cash cap rate of 7%. This represents a 90 basis point increase compared to the previous quarter, highlighting the company’s ability to access well-priced capital and secure favorable investment opportunities. The investment spread of 163 basis points, above historical averages, further demonstrates the effectiveness of Realty Income’s investment strategy.

Also, Realty Income’s focus on diversification and risk management is another positive factor. With a portfolio occupancy rate of 99%, the company exhibits stability and a strong ability to generate durable cash flows. Additionally, its emphasis on industry-leading clients operating in low-priced service-based or non-discretionary industries contributes to a resilient earnings profile. The commitment to rigorous credit underwriting and high-quality real estate locations further enhances the company’s risk management approach.

Moreover, Realty Income has increased its 2023 investment guidance to over $6 billion, reflecting a significant expansion compared to previous projections. A robust deal pipeline and favorable pricing spread for large portfolio transactions support this growth. Finally, the company’s ability to serve as a capital provider for sale-leaseback transactions offers a competitive advantage, attracting institutional sellers of real estate who seek the certainty of close and attractively priced capital.

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