Investing

Meet the Preliminary 2020 Dogs of the Dow

Jon C. Ogg

With 2019 coming to a rapid end, it’s important to reflect on what happened in the past year. Still, it’s more important to reflect on what 2020 will look like. The month of December has now seen its phase-one trade deal with China announced. The economy did keep growing, and unemployment fell as payrolls continued to rise. If you are still holding on to the false forecast of the past six months that the next recession is imminent, it’s time to go get a new job. One theme that investors love in good times and in bad is dividend investing. This helps investments grow with compounding and dividends that can supplement retirement without having to sell shares.

One strategy that has been around for years is known as the Dogs of the Dow. This is where investors buy the 10 highest yielding dividends of the 30 Dow stocks. Historically they were higher than others frequently based on their shares selling off or underperforming; hence, the term “dog.”

Year to date (December 13, 2019), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.9%, using the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSE: DIA) with dividends added in for a total return. All 30 Dow stocks pay a dividend, and the yields range from roughly 0.66% up to 5.1%. The median dividend would be 2.56%.

Keep in mind that the list today may be slightly different from the formal list as of the close of trading on December 31, 2019. Most of these names will stay on the list due to their dividends being higher, but there are some runners-up that might make the list. This is the current order of the Dow stocks by yield, highest to lowest (rounded up or down to nearest one-tenth of a percent, from a Finviz screener), that would make for the 2020 Dogs if the markets were to close now.

  1. Dow Inc. (NYSE: DOW), 5.1%
  2. Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), 4.9%
  3. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), 4.8%
  4. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), 4.0%
  5. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), 4.0%
  6. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), 3.7%
  7. 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), 3.4%
  8. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), 3.1%
  9. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), 3.1%
  10. Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), 3.0%


While it would take some major moves up by the runners-up, changes also can occur if there are significant drops in the lowest yielding preliminary Dogs. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) has a yield of 2.81%, compared with a 2.96% yield for Coca-Cola. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) is next at 2.72%, followed by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) at 2.69%.

The Dogs of the Dow list may change, and a look above puts some doubt if some of the Dow stocks will even be Dow stocks in the year or years ahead. Just ask General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Hewlett-Packard and a slew of other companies if their reign in the Dow was going to last forever.

A more detailed review of the 2020 Dogs of the Dow will be made as the list becomes formal and more certain. Here is a review of the 2019 Dogs of the Dow for comparison.