Johnson & Johnson Commits to Yet Another Dividend Hike

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) just delivered yet another dividend hike. What matters here is that J&J is easily in the club of companies raising dividends for 50 years or more. And the company previously had committed to increasing its dividends over and over. This is also one of those companies that offers investors a defensive position in the equity market during periods of uncertainty.

The Johnson & Johnson board of directors raised its dividend payout to $0.90 per share. That represents a 7.1% hike from the prior $0.84 quarterly dividend per share.

At the new rate, the indicated dividend on an annual basis is $3.60 per share, compared to the previous rate of $3.36 per share. With shares at $127.40, the new dividend yield for those investors buying shares now will be 2.82%.

According to a screen of Dow dividend yields from Finviz, that would run as the 11th highest dividend of the 30 Dow Jones industrial average stocks.

The Johnson & Johnson press release indicated that the next quarterly dividend will be payable on June 12, 2018, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 29, 2018. Its ex-dividend date is May 25, 2018.

Alex Gorsky, the company’s board chair and chief executive, said of the hike:

In recognition of our 2017 results, strong financial position and confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson, the Board has voted to increase the quarterly dividend for the 56th consecutive year.

While some of the dividend hike may be tied to tax reform, the effective tax rate cut was not as dramatic as seen elsewhere. Johnson & Johnson said with earnings in January that its new effective tax rate would drop by 1.5 to 2.5 points from the then-current effective tax rate of 17.2%. The company’s dividend also should be considered quite safe since its first look at 2018 guidance was for earnings per share to come in a range of $8.00 to $8.20 per share.

With its shares up about 0.5% at $127.40, Johnson & Johnson has a 52-week trading range of $122.15 to $148.32.