Two weeks ago I published my predictions for the 11 dividend increase announcements there were expected in my portfolio during the first quarter. Shortly thereafter, Polaris Industries Inc. $PII announced a 5.45% boost to its dividend, which was a pleasant surprise to the upside compared to my prediction.
On February 7th, two more companies, Gilead Sciences $GILD and Church & Dwight Co., Inc. $CHD, announced their new rates. Before we discuss the increases, let’s take a look at my original prediction.
I was just going over some of my sector-based watch lists and was struck by the wide variety of dividend payout ratio targets that have been set by companies. This got me thinking about how often investors, and specifically dividend investors, use payout ratio as an initial screening tool for finding potential investments.
Not only do payout ratios vary significantly from sector to sector, but they also can vary significantly between companies operating in similar businesses. For example, it is quite common for utility companies to pay out more than 50% of their earnings in dividends, as they operate in generally stable businesses that have predictable earnings. However, when looking at my 30 stock utility watch list, there is a range of targeted payout ratios from 40-75%, with UGI Corporation $UGI on the low end and Dominion Resources $D at the top.
Another eventful year in the market has come to a close, and that means it is time to provide a new update on my dividend growth portfolio.
This update is a bit different for me, as it is the first one I’ve made since starting this new website. I’m still trying to find balance between simply restating what I already said in my Seeking Alpha update, and providing some new insight here.
2016 was a good one for the markets, as the DJIA gained more than 15%, while the S&P gained 11% for the year. My portfolio also did quite well, putting up 15.6% income growth and increasing in value by 24.1% (including contributions).