dividend kings

The List of Dividend Kings in 2021

This article provides an updated list of the Dividend Kings in 2021 and select financial data and analysis. The Dividend Kings in 2021 are U.S. stocks that have grown their dividend for at least 50 consecutive years. The current Dividend Kings list is very select as only 34 companies have successfully done so as of December 1, 2021. This is one more than at the start of the year. This number is out of nearly 6,000 companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (NASDAQ and NYSE) at the end of 2020. The data for this list is updated monthly.

These companies have survived periods of inflation, stock market crashes, global crisis, and deep recessions. In the past 50 years, their dividends have survived seven recessions, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin War and the Soviet Union, 9/11 in 2001, the dot-com bust, the Great Recession, and COVID-19.

The 2021 Dividend Kings may not have grown revenue and earnings per share every year, but they annually raised the dividend without fail. This length of time points to the durability of their businesses and the sustainability of their dividends. This fact is essential for investors seeking to produce passive income for retirement or build wealth.

As of this writing, no Dividend King has cut or suspended its dividend yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are interested in the list of stocks that have cut or suspended their dividend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look at my article on Coronavirus Dividend Cuts and Suspensions. It contains over 500 stocks on the list. I update this list weekly. The Dividend Kings most close to falling off the list are Sysco (SYY), which last raised the dividend in January 2020, and Parker-Hannifin (P.H.), which last raised the dividend in April 2019. Both companies have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Since I originally posted this article, both Sysco and Parker-Hannifin have raised the dividend.


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Market Update for the 2021 Dividend Kings

The Dividend Kings are currently (as of December 1, 2021) are trading at an elevated valuation of a trailing average price-to-earnings ratio of about 25.1X. This multiple is down since last month due too declining stock prices and rising earnings. The current average dividend yield is about 2.33%. The trailing average 10-year dividend growth rate is about 7.32%. The average payout ratio is approximately 51.7%. The average market cap is currently $55,281 million. Currently, the Dividend King with the highest yield is Universal (UVV) at about 6.7%, and the one trading with the lowest earnings multiple is Cincinnati Financial (CINF).

You can look at updated, select financial data and the dividend earnings calendar for each stock in the Dividend Kings list in the tables at the end of the article.

In the trailing 1-year, the Dividend Kings have returned +14.4% (blue line) compared to +27.0% for the S&P 500 Index (as measured by SPY), as seen in the chart below. I used Stock Rover* for this chart. Over the trailing 5-years, the Dividend Kings have returned +85.8%, and the S&P 500 Index has returned +125.8%.

2021-Dividend-Kings-1-Year-Returns-7
Source: Stock Rover*

Additions to the Dividend Kings in 2021

In 2021, Universal Corp (UVV), Grainger (GWW), Leggett & Platt (LEG), MSA Safety (MSA), PPG Industries (PPG), were added to the list of Dividend Kings. Universal is a global seller of leaf tobacco. The company interacts with farmers and manufacturers of tobacco products. The company recently expanded into sweet potatoes and is seeking to expand into other agricultural products. Grainger is an industrial distributor. Leggett & Platt is a conglomerate that manufactures products for homes, offices, retail stores, automobiles, and commercial aircraft. MSA Safety makes safety products for the oil, mining, utility, fire, and industrial markets. PPG Industries is the world’s largest producer of coatings for automotive, aerospace, industrial, and construction markets.

Additions to the Dividend Kings in 2020

In 2020, Sysco Corp (SYY), National Fuel Gas (NFG), and Black Hills Corporation (BKH), were added to the list of Dividend Kings. National Fuel Gas is a diversified utility with upstream, midstream, and downstream assets. The utility owns a regulated natural gas distribution segment. But it also has business segments in exploration and production, pipeline and storage, and gathering. Sysco is a large foodservice distributor with operations in the U.S., UK, Canada, and France. Black Hills Corp, the latest addition, is multi-utility with electric utilities, gas utilities, power generation, and mining operations.

Deletions to the Dividend Kings in 2020

There were no stocks removed from the Dividend Kings list in 2020.

Other Dividend Stock Lists

I have also written articles with several other lists and analyses on U.S. dividend growth stocks, including:

For Canadian stocks, I have written about

For U.K. stocks, I have written about

Other dividend stock lists

Some Details on the 2021 Dividend Kings

Water Utilities Have a Major Presence

The longest track record as a Dividend King is American States Water (AWR), with 66 years of straight increases. There were four water utilities on this list at the start of 2019. But Connecticut Water Service (CTWS) was acquired by SJW Corp (SJW) in 2019. This acquisition reduced the number to three. It is not surprising that water utilities have a high representation on this list. They provide an essential product for consumers and industries. The business does not grow fast but grows along with population growth over time. The market and dividend growth investors have broadly recognized this now, and water utilities often trade at elevated valuations, but they exhibit low volatility. The three remaining water utilities on the Dividend Kings list are trading at an earning multiple greater than the broader market for some time. For instance, American States Water trades at price-to-earnings ratios of over 30X.

Only One REIT on the Dividend Kings 2021 List

There is only one real estate investment trust (REIT) on the list, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT). FRT is a shopping center REIT that operates in eight metropolitan areas. In addition, there are currently no master limited partnerships (MLPs) on the list.

Dividend Aristocrats

There are many companies from the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats list on the 2021 Dividend Kings list. A Dividend Aristocrat is a company that has raised the dividend for at least 25 consecutive years. However, it is not necessary for a company to be on the Dividend Aristocrats list to be a Dividend King.

Market Size of the 2021 Dividend Kings

Interestingly, the list is not dominated by large-cap companies but includes quite a few mid-cap companies ($2 billion – $10 billion) and small-cap companies ($300 million – $2 billion). The largest market capitalization company on the Dividend Kings list is Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), at about $442 billion. The smallest company on the Dividend Kings list by market capitalization is Universal Corporation (UVV), at about $1.4 billion.

Lastly, there are two over-the-counter stock that could be on the Dividend Kings list: Farmers & Merchants Bancorp (FMBC) and Computer Services (CSVI).

What I Like About the Dividend Kings?

The Dividend King list in 2021 serves as a screen for further investigating a stock for a dividend growth portfolio. It lists companies with a stable business that have competitive advantages and have returned cash to shareholders consistently through dividends for an extended period. As a dividend growth investor, this is a place to start for me.

Some investors ask, “What’s the big deal about the Dividend Kings?” In my opinion, it is a measure of success. I mean 34 Dividend Kings divided by 6,000 companies is about 0.53%. So, very few companies can match this track record of dividend growth.

The Dividend Kings list changes only very slowly. Each year there are a few additions on average. However, the Dividend Kings list exhibits persistence. Once a company is on the list, it tends to stay on the list. I believe that this is due to the effort by each company’s management to maintain the dividend.

Sometimes companies are deleted from the Dividend Kings list due to mergers and acquisitions. For instance, Vectren and Connecticut Water Service were deleted from the list in 2019 since they were acquired.

However, there are some companies that do fall off the list for not raising the dividend or, even worse, cutting or suspending the dividend. In the past, this has included Winn-Dixie (WINN), Ohio Casualty Corp (eventually acquired), Aon PLC (AON), Integrys Energy Group (TEG), Masco (MSA), and Diebold (DBD). Again, I refer readers to an article on the Dividend Growth Investor blog on the evolution of the Dividend Kings list over the years. But in general, most of these companies had several years in a row of operating difficulties or high leverage. Eventually, this led to a freeze in the dividend and subsequent removal from the list.

Dividend Kings Historical Performance

On absolute terms, the Dividend Kings have solid performance. The Dividend Kings have performed better than the S&P 500 Index with lower volatility over the past 20 years, starting in 1999 through the end of 2019. The 29 Dividend Kings during this time had a compound annual growth rate or CAGR of approximately 24.7% versus about 22.9% for the S&P 500 Index. The internal rate of return or IRR is approximately 11.6% for the Dividend Kings and roughly 9.2% for the S&P 500.

There are three reasons for this. First, the 2021 Dividend Kings have fewer years with negative returns. The Dividend Kings had only two down years during this period, while the S&P 500 had four down years. Next, the worst down years for the S&P 500 were much worse than that of the Dividend Kings. The worst year for the Dividend Kings was only -17.62%, while the worst year for the S&P 500 was a whopping -36.81% or more than double that of the Dividend Kings. The S&P 500 could not make this upon in the best year. Lastly, the Dividend Kings outperformed the S&P 500 in 12 out of 20 years. You can check my article to compare the Dividend Kings versus S&P 500 if you want more details.

The Dividend Kings also experienced lower volatility than the S&P 500 during the period in question. The standard deviation of returns was about 12.5% for the Dividend Kings versus roughly 14.4% for the S&P 500. The combination of higher rates of return and lower standard deviation results in a higher Sharpe ratio of 0.74 for the Dividend Kings versus 0.39 for the S&P 500 (based on monthly returns and 1-month U.S. Treasury bill). This fact indicates that the Dividend Kings have higher risk-adjusted performance compared to the S&P 500.

Discrepancies in the 2021 Dividend Kings

There are six discrepancies on the Dividend Kings 2021 list. Target (TGT), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), MSA Safety (MSA), Altria (MO), and Tootsie Roll Industries (TR) regarding the number of years that they have paid a growing dividend. There is a question of whether they are yet Dividend Kings or not. Some sites and blog authors count these stocks as Dividend Kings, and others do not. I am excluding all stocks that are discrepancies from the List of Dividend Kings.

Target has paid a growing annual dividend for at least 49 years, according to its website. From 1970 – 1971 Target paid an annual cash dividend of $0.0104. In 1972, the company raised the dividend to $0.0108. So, based on this information, Target has increased the annual dividend for 49 years. It would become a Dividend King next year, assuming it raises the dividend. However, some lists and websites show Target raising the dividend for 53 years. I am not sure where these sites get the 53 years number. But Target initiated a dividend at the end of 1967, so it has paid a dividend for 53 consecutive years. There was a 2:1 stock split in 1969, so that may be confusing the issue. However, at this point, it is clear that Target is a Dividend Aristocrat and Dividend Champion, but not yet a Dividend King.

The second discrepancy is for Illinois Tool Works (ITW). The company has paid a growing dividend for at least 49 years. The company claims to have raised its dividend for 56 years. Some websites also show the 56-year value. However, the Dividend Investing Resource Center website indicates that ITW has increased its dividend for 45 years. I refer to the excellent research by Dividend Growth Investor, who determined that ITW did not raise its dividend in 1971. The company acknowledges this in their 2019 ITW Annual Report where they state, “ITW’s annual dividend payment has increased for more than 56 consecutive years, except during a period of government controls in 1971.” ITW did start increasing its dividend again in 1972. So, based on this, ITW would be a Dividend King in 2021, assuming it raised the dividend this year. For now, ITW is a Dividend Aristocrat and Dividend Champion.

MSA Safety is the third stock that has a discrepancy. The company’s press releases in 2019 and 2020 state that MSA Safety has raised the dividend for over 50 consecutive years. A few bloggers state the number of years as 50 years. However, most data sets indicate only 49 successive years. In addition, the Dividend Resource Investing Center shows that MSA Safety has raised the dividend for only 49 years. Therefore, I am leaving the stock as a Dividend Champion for now and not including it on the Dividend Kings list. In any case, MSA Safety should make the Dividend Kings list in 2021, provided they raise the dividend.

Altria Group (MO) is the fourth stock with a discrepancy. The company was part of Philip Morris (PM) and was divested in 2008. The dividend was cut, but the combined dividend was reportedly still the same as before the split. However, due to the divestment and reduction in the dividend, some datasets have Altria with only 12 years of dividend growth. The quantitative rules that are used by Portfolio Insight* make this a dividend cut. Hence, we have not included it in the Dividend Kings list.

The fifth discrepancy is Tootsie Roll. Tootsie Roll does increase its regular cash dividend periodically, but the stock does not have at least 50 consecutive increases. So why do some lists include Tootsie Roll as a Dividend King? The company also pays a 3% stock dividend that is recorded as a 103-to-100 stock split. This split results in an adjustment to past dividends each year. For this reason, I have decided to leave Tootsie Roll off the Dividend Kings list.

The next discrepancy is Farmers & Merchants Bancorp (FMBC). The bank has raised the dividend for over 50 years in a row. However, the bank trades over the counter and is only very thinly traded. This fact means more significant risks for small investors. Hence, I have omitted this bank from the Dividend Kings list

Another discrepancy is Computer Services (CSVI). The company has raised the dividend for 50 consecutive years. However, the the stock trades over the counter and is again thinly traded. This fact means more significant risks for small investors. Hence, I have omitted this bank from the Dividend Kings list.

Who’s On Deck?

Multiple Dividend Champions have raised their dividend for 49 years. This list includes Becton Dickinson & Co (BDX), MSA Safety (MSA), Computer Services (CVSI), W.W. Grainger (GWW), PPG Industries (PPG), Tennant Company (TNC), and Leggett & Platt (LEG).

List of Dividend Kings in 2021 – Updated 12/01/21

I used Stock Rover* and Portfolio Insight* to create this table.


Ticker

Company Name

No. Years

Dividend Yield (%)

10-yr Dividend Growth Rate (%)

Payout Ratio (%)

TTM P/E Ratio

Market Cap (millions)
ABMABM Indus541.703.1034.9020.9 $        3,025 
AWRAmerican States Water671.6010.1053.7037 $        3,478 
BKHBlack Hills513.705.0058.4016.6 $        4,092 
CBSHCommerce Bancshares531.606.9022.7015 $        8,108 
CINFCincinnati Financial612.204.6015.907.3 $      18,353 
CLColgate-Palmolive582.404.5056.5023.9 $      63,230 
CWTCalifornia Water Service541.504.1040.7028.4 $        3,314 
DOVDover661.204.7030.3025.3 $      23,591 
EMREmerson Electric642.402.6052.5023 $      52,256 
FRTFederal Realty Investment543.504.50140.3040.5 $        9,542 
FULH.B. Fuller520.908.4023.0026 $        3,844 
GPCGenuine Parts652.606.1057.2022.7 $      18,192 
GWWW.W. Grainger501.409.4035.8027.5 $      24,802 
HRLHormel Foods552.5014.4060.5026.2 $      22,461 
ITWIllinois Tool Works582.1013.0053.7027 $      72,867 
JNJJohnson & Johnson592.706.4061.0023.3 $    410,500 
KOCoca-Cola593.206.0081.9025.8 $    226,553 
LANCLancaster Colony592.208.6060.9029.7 $        4,024 
LEGLeggett & Platt504.204.1056.0013.8 $        5,388 
LOWLowe’s Companies591.3019.0024.2021.2 $    164,791 
MMM3M633.5010.4057.9016.8 $      97,986 
MSAMSA Safety501.205.4073.4061 $        5,619 
NDSNNordson580.8015.1025.0041.2 $      14,772 
NFGNational Fuel Gas513.202.5045.1014.6 $        5,271 
NWNNorthwest Natural Hldg654.500.8065.3015.8 $        1,322 
PGProcter & Gamble652.405.2058.7026.4 $    349,876 
PHParker Hannifin651.4010.8026.2021.1 $      38,831 
PPGPPG Industries501.507.5036.9025.9 $      36,600 
SCLStepan531.209.1018.5017.4 $        2,526 
SJWSJW Gr542.007.0070.2035.6 $        2,008 
SWKStanley Black & Decker541.806.8025.3015.8 $      28,491 
SYYSysco512.706.10137.3052.6 $      35,879 
TGTTarget541.5011.6021.4017.9 $    116,829 
UVVUniversal516.705.0077.3011.7 $        1,145 
Mean56.822.337.3251.7225.14 $      55,281 
Median54.502.156.2553.7023.60 $      18,273 
Source: Portfolio Insight*, Stock Rover* (as of November 3, 2021)

Dividend Calendar for the Dividend Kings 2021

I used Stock Rover* for creating this table.


Ticker

Company

Ex-Dividend Date

Div. Record Date

Dividend Payment Date

Next Div. Payment Per Share

Dividend Per Share
ABMABM Indus10/6/2110/7/2111/1/21$0.19 $0.76 
AWRAmerican States Water11/12/2111/15/2112/1/21$0.37 $1.46 
BKHBlack Hills11/16/2111/17/2112/1/21$0.60 $2.38 
CBSHCommerce Bancshares12/1/2112/2/2112/17/21$0.26 $1.05 
CINFCincinnati Financial12/15/2112/16/211/14/22$0.63 $2.52 
CLColgate-Palmolive10/20/2110/21/2111/15/21$0.45 $1.80 
CWTCalifornia Water Service11/5/2111/8/2111/19/21$0.23 $0.92 
DOVDover11/29/2111/30/2112/14/21$0.50 $2.00 
EMREmerson Electric11/10/2111/12/2112/10/21$0.51 $2.06 
FRTFederal Realty Investment12/31/211/3/221/18/22$1.07 $4.28 
FULH.B. Fuller10/13/2110/14/2110/28/21$0.17 $0.67 
GPCGenuine Parts12/2/2112/3/211/4/22$0.81 $3.26 
GWWW.W. Grainger11/5/2111/8/2112/1/21$1.62 $6.48 
HRLHormel Foods1/14/221/18/222/15/22$0.26 $1.04 
ITWIllinois Tool Works12/30/2112/31/211/14/22$1.22 $4.88 
JNJJohnson & Johnson11/22/2111/23/2112/7/21$1.06 $4.24 
KOCoca-Cola11/30/2112/1/2112/15/21$0.42 $1.68 
LANCLancaster Colony12/3/2112/6/2112/31/21$0.80 $3.20 
LEGLeggett & Platt12/14/2112/15/211/14/22$0.42 $1.68 
LOWLowe’s Companies1/18/221/19/222/2/22$0.80 $3.20 
MMM3M11/18/2111/19/2112/12/21$1.48 $5.92 
MSAMSA Safety11/12/2111/15/2112/10/21$0.44 $1.76 
NDSNNordson8/23/218/24/219/7/21$0.51 $2.04 
NFGNational Fuel Gas9/29/219/30/2110/15/21$0.46 $1.82 
NWNNorthwest Natural Hldg10/28/2110/29/2111/15/21$0.48 $1.93 
PGProcter & Gamble10/21/2110/22/2111/15/21$0.87 $3.48 
PHParker Hannifin11/10/2111/12/2112/3/21$1.03 $4.12 
PPGPPG Industries11/9/2111/10/2112/10/21$0.59 $2.36 
SCLStepan11/29/2111/30/2112/15/21$0.34 $1.34 
SJWSJW Gr11/5/2111/8/2112/1/21$0.34 $1.36 
SWKStanley Black & Decker11/30/2112/1/2112/21/21$0.79 $3.16 
SYYSysco1/6/221/7/221/28/22$0.47 $1.88 
TGTTarget11/16/2111/17/2112/10/21$0.90 $3.60 
UVVUniversal1/7/221/10/222/7/22$0.78 $3.12 
Source: Stock Rover* (as of December 1, 2021)

Prior Year Lists and Articles


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Prakash Kolli is the founder of the Dividend Power site. He is a self-taught investor, analyst, and writer on dividend growth stocks and financial independence. His writings can be found on Seeking Alpha, InvestorPlace, Business Insider, Nasdaq, TalkMarkets, ValueWalk, The Money Show, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and leading financial sites. In addition, he is part of the Portfolio Insight and Sure Dividend teams. He was recently in the top 1.0% and 100 (73 out of over 13,450) financial bloggers, as tracked by TipRanks (an independent analyst tracking site) for his articles on Seeking Alpha.

2 thoughts on “The List of Dividend Kings in 2021

  1. What do you think about using the Wheel Strategy to mix long term investing with selling options to increase the annual returns?
    1. So I sell a Put option when I don’t own any stock to earn a premium
    If the Put gets exercised, I’ll own 100 stocks
    2. Then sell a Put and a Call to double my premium
    If the Call gets exercised, I’ll sell the 100 stocks and go back to 1
    If the Put gets exercised, I’ll own 200 stocks
    3. Then sell 2 Call options
    If the Calls get exercised, I’ll sell the 200 stocks and go back to 1

    The options premium I get from the Wheel can 3x the expected annual returns of SPY

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