Including dividends, the return of the S&P 500 nearly doubles for the last 10 years. That is, for the last ten years, the S&P 500 has returned 57%, but with the dividends included, the total return is upwards of 94%.
But there are even more benefits in companies that consistently offer dividend increases. For example, the First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders ETF (NYSE: FDL) invests in U.S. companies that have consistent and sustained dividend payments, has generated a total return of 37% over the last three years.
This more than dwarfs the 29% that the S&P 500 has returned on a total return basis over the same period. It pays to scope out the companies that consistently pay its investors more.
With all that in mind, here are the top five stocks that paid investors more during the month of December.
V.F. Corp. (NYSE: VFC)
VF Corp is one of the staple apparel companies, but one that not many people know about.
It offers a hefty 3% dividend yield. It’s a company that has managed to up its dividend for 43 straight years. The apparel company is upping its dividend by 14% in December to $0.42 a share.
However, it’s been a rough ride of late, with shares down 8% in 2016 and off more than 25% from the all-time highs we saw just over a year ago. VF Corp is a stock that’s getting shunned with the rest of the retail industry. However, unlike most apparel companies, VF Corp. doesn’t rely on storefronts, selling its merchandise via various retailers. Its key brands include Nautica, Lee, Vans, North Face, Timberland and Wrangler.
Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE: IR)
Ingersoll-Rand is paying out a 2.2% dividend yield and has increased its quarterly dividend by 25% (the largest increase on our list) in December. The machinery company will be paid out a quarterly dividend of $0.40 a share.
This company operates in a relatively stable industry, providing services and solutions for air conditioning. Its key brand is Trane, which makes heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. And it also owns the Club Car brand, a maker of golf carts and utility vehicles.
Public Storage (NYSE: PSA)
Public Storage is a real estate investment trust that operates in the steady and growing self-storage market. Its dividend yield is up to 3.9% after the stock has fallen 14% in 2016. The REIT increased its quarterly dividend by 11% to $2 a share last month.
This REIT has a strong balance sheet and has seen its stock punished given the issuance of new preferred shares. Still, the core thesis for Public Storage investors remains consistent: people will continue to move and store stuff regardless of the economic backdrop.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE)
Hewlett Packard Enterprises increased its quarterly dividend by 18% soon to $0.065 a share. However, it’s an underrated dividend payer as it offers just a 1.1% dividend yield.
Hewlett Packard Enterprises spinoff from HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) last year and is looking to become a cloud focused play, even more so as it plans to spin off its own software business next year. Despite its stock being up 50% in 2016, shares still trade at just 11 times next year’s earnings estimates.
Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ: HBAN)
Huntington is one of the many regional banks out there, but also one of the best positioned. It upped its quarterly dividend by 14% last month to $0.08 a share. The dividend yield is one of the best among midwest banks at 2.5% and the stock also one of the cheapest, trading at just 1.3 times book value.
Most notably, Huntington will be a big winner from higher interest rates. Huntington generates nearly 70% of its total income from interest income.
The First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leader ETF (NYSE:FDL) was trading at $27.65 per share on Thursday morning, down $0.14 (-0.50%). Year-to-date, FDL has declined -0.40%, versus a 0.80% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Wyatt Investment Research.