5 Dividend Aristocrat Stocks to Buy Now as Rates Plunge to Record Lows

The company owns 62 area distribution substations and various distribution facilities; 39 transmission substations and 62 area stations; electric generation facilities with an aggregate capacity of 724 megawatts that run on gas and fuel oil; 4,348 miles of mains and 369,791 service lines for natural gas distribution; and one steam-electric generating station and five steam-only generating stations.

The company operates 572 circuit miles of transmission lines; 14 transmission substations; 86,794 in-service line transformers; 3,994 pole miles of overhead distribution lines; and 1,889 miles of underground distribution lines, as well as 1,867 miles of mains and 105,482 service lines for natural gas distribution. In addition, it is involved in the sale and related hedging of electricity to retail customers, and the provision of energy-related products and services to wholesale and retail customers.

Consolidated Edison shareholders receive a 3.37% dividend. The $97 Merrill Lynch price target is well above the $80.65 consensus target. The shares closed most recently at $87.77.

Emerson Electric

This is another stock that has been hit hard and offers a tremendous entry point for investors. Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets.

The company’s Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. The Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create a sustainable infrastructure.

Shareholders receive a 3.40% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set a $76 price target. The consensus figure is $72, and the stock was last seen trading at $57.83.

Exxon Mobil

This remains a top Wall Street energy pick and is another safer long-term play for conservative investors. Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is the world’s largest international integrated oil and gas company. It explores for and produces crude oil and natural gas in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Africa and elsewhere.

Exxon also manufactures and markets commodity petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene plastics, and specialty products, and it transports and sells crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products. Note that Exxon has one of the highest paid American CEOs.

The company reported mixed second-quarter results that did have positive trends, and Merrill Lynch noted this:

Another quarter of heavy maintenance masks an emerging inflection in liquids growth, and expanding upstream cash margins. Cash flow continues to lag capital expenditures and dividends; we see no issue as spending to double cash flow does not match the timing of asset sales. Maintenance is transitory; the company is clear about preparedness to lean on the balance sheet until cash flow catches up.

The company raised the dividend earlier this year a nickel to $0.87 per share. That now translates to a solid 5.14% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price objective is $100. The consensus target is much lower at $83.92. The stock closed at $67.68.

Five Dividend Aristocrat members that are all rated Buy at Merrill Lynch. These are great stocks for long-term buy-and-hold accounts looking to add safety and dependable income. While not the most exciting companies in the world, they will certainly hold up much better than some should the market take a deep dive.