March is a great month.  Spring training is starting, the weather is starting to warm up, it is the first large dividend paying month of the year, and it is one of the Diplomats’ birthdays.   From an investing stand point and dividend increase standpoint, 2019 has been an interesting one.   Dividend growth has slowed compared to last year for many companies while the stock market continues to rally.   Each day is an exciting new day in the marketplace.  It is now time for the next installment of our monthly series summarizing the previous month’s dividend increases and anticipating the dividend increases in the months to come.  Here is our list of expected dividend increases in March!

Actual Dividend Increases in February 2019

Before looking ahead, I always like to review the companies that announced a dividend increase in the previous month.  It is a great way for me to see if the companies I highlighted in the previous month’s article delivered and to even summarize companies that I did not, but should have, included in the article. (“Bonus” companies).  Let’s see the results!

  • Company #1: Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM) – This was actually the first dividend increase I received during the month.  ADM increased their dividend 4.48% this month.  This was slightly lower, but in line with the company’s previous increases.  Their news release cited some pretty cool facts about the longevity of the company’s dividend.  This was the 349th consecutive quarterly dividend payment, which is over 87 years of consecutive dividend payments.
  • Company #2: Coca-Cola Co. (KO) – KO has had slow and steady dividend increases over the years.   This year, KO announced only a $.01/share increase in their quarterly dividend.  This was only a 2.6% increase, much lower than their 5-year average dividend growth rate.
  • Company #3: Genuine Parts Company (GPC) – Rarely do companies announce an increase right in line with their 5-year average.  However, GPC put that to rest in an extraordinary display of consistency.  GPC announced a 6% dividend increase, which compares to their  5-year average dividend growth rate of 6.03%.
  • Company #4: T. Rowe Price Group (TROW) – TROW definitely did not match to their 22% dividend increase from last year.  The 8.6% increase is a far cry from this amount.  Luckily, the increase added nearly $17 to my forward dividend income total.  So I’m not that upset about this one.  Although it would have been nice to see at least a 10% increase…maybe next year!
  • Company #5: Walmart (WMT) – Walmart absolutely crushed it during this earnings season and their results were surprising, in a very positive way.  WMT is fighting back against Amazon and offered a nice counter punch this holiday season.  Despite the strong earnings, the company stuck to their annual $.01/share increase in their quarterly dividend!
  • Bonus Company #1:  Pepsico (PEP) – This one fired me up and was the inspiration for the “Slower Dividend Growth” article mentioned above.   PEP announced a measly 3% increase in their annual dividend, a far cry from their 15% increase last year and 7% increase from two years ago.  As a shareholder, it is frustrating, but the earnings release also showed a decrease in earnings per share.
  • Bonus Company #2:  The Wendy’s Company (WEN) – Not every dividend growth story is doom and gloom these days.  Wendy’s announced a 17.6% increase in their quarterly dividend in February ahead of their earnings, which represents the 7th consecutive annual dividend increase.  Wendy’s holds a special place in my heart since there was one at the end of my street growing up and we would walk there to get Frosty’s in the summer.  Congrats to the WEN shareholders.  Maybe it is time for me to join the square-patty, no corner cutting crowd.
  • Bonus Company #3:  United Parcel Services (UPS) –  Despite the fact that I initiated a small position in the fourth quarter and I knew this dividend increase was coming, I omitted them from this article last month.  But I corrected that now and added them here.  UPS announced a solid 5.6% dividend increase this month!  Bodda-bing, bodda-boom.
  • Bonus Company #4:  Home Depot, Inc. (HD) – Here is the mic-drop and final dividend increase for the article.  Home Depot announced a, you guessed it, 32% increase in their dividend.   You read that right, 32%!  Congratulations to HD shareholders!
  • Dividend Cut #1:  Kraft-Heinz Compnay (KHC) – Man, I hate having to include this one in here.  But KHC shocked the investing world with a shocking dividend cut (From $.625/share to $.40/share), a massive impairment charge, and an SEC investigation.  Yeah, it wasn’t really a great night for fellow KHC shareholders and the stock price decreased significantly after the news.

Expected Dividend Increases in March 2019

Just like January, February had a ton of dividend increases.  However, it looks like March is going to give us the opportunity to catch our breath.  There are not a lot of companies that are expected to announce dividend increases in March.   Here is the short list:

  • Company #1: Colgate-Palmolive (CL) –  Colgate’s stock has been on a tear in 2018, up double-digit percent from the start of the year.  Will their dividend growth follow suit?  Their 5-year average dividend growth rate is less than 5% heading into this increase.  So there is plenty of room to improve upon this mark.  Be ready though.  This dividend increase is going to happen early on in the month.
  • Company #2: General Dynamics (GD)  –  I’m personally not invested in the aerospace industry and don’t know too much about it.  I know GD and LMT are two of the major players and both have had strong dividend growth rates over the years.  GD’s 5-year average is just over 10% and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue in 2019.

I told you the list was much shorter in March.  But don’t get used to it, because April is going to be a crazy month.  Let’s just consider this the calm before the storm!   Do you own either of the companies mentioned above?  Did you receive any dividend increases in February that I did not highlight in the article?  Or are you expecting dividend increases in March from companies other than CL or GD?  If so, please include the companies and your anticipated dividend growth rate in the comments section!



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