Investors love dividends. This one investing component has comprised a major portion of total returns through time. The trend in recent years has been for companies to pay dividends and keep raising it. At the same time, many companies that have been around for sometime may have grown past their major growth phase. Some of these companies have started paying dividends, while others have chosen not to.
24/7 Wall St. praises dividends. We also want to call out the myriad of great companies that need to realize that times demand investor payouts. A few companies are still buying growth, and we have identified some of these players as well. The thesis behind offering a solid dividend is that it instills confidence in investors that the company has earnings visibility for years even when the business cycle slows.
Having a real dividend policy may also be the key to keeping nervous investors from fleeing and going into cash or Treasury bonds, which pay almost nothing these days. There are just still too many companies in denial that they are still growth companies when they need to start directly rewarding shareholders. Some companies can get away without paying out a single cent to owners because the value of growth is so strong. That list is shrinking these days. Most companies we identified are in what we would call the “Dividend Sinners” category.
Our review focuses on Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG), Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ: ESRX), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TER), United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: ZBRA). We have handicapped whether investors might expect a dividend in the near-term or long-term from each of these as well.
The first order of business is to identify some of the great companies that have started paying a dividend since we (and others) have called for them to act with dividend payments in the past year or two. A few would include Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) and NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ).