The stock market is off to the worst start in almost 100 years, and things likely will get worse before they get better. Last week’s horrible inflation reports highlighted just how much the increase in prices (the highest in 40 years) are hammering away at consumers’ purchasing power. Friday’s retail sales numbers were encouraging, but the reality is that the major banks are stashing away cash, expecting a wave of bad loans, and credit card usage is soaring.
It would be nice to go back 20 years to 5% guaranteed certificates of deposit (CDs), but that is a long way off. Investment-grade bonds have been hammered this year, so they are not an alternative. Often when income investors look for defensive companies paying big dividends, they are drawn to the Dividend Aristocrats, and with good reason.
The 66 companies that made the cut for the 2022 Dividend Aristocrats list have increased dividends (not just remained the same) for 25 years straight. But the requirements go even further, with the following attributes also mandatory for membership on the aristocrat list:
- Companies must be worth at least $3 billion at the time of each quarterly rebalancing.
- They must have an average daily volume of at least $5 million in transactions for every trailing three-month period at every quarterly rebalancing date.
- They must be a member of the S&P 500.
With the potential for massive downside still looming, and interest rates definitely going higher, we thought it would be a good idea to look for companies on the Dividend Aristocrats that pay among the biggest dividends that investors can buy now and hold forever.
Seven top companies hit our screen. While they are rated Buy at top Wall Street firms, it is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
This is a top pharmaceutical stock pick across Wall Street. AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company develops and markets drugs in areas such as immunology, virology, renal disease, dyslipidemia and neuroscience.
One of the biggest concerns with AbbVie is what might happen eventually with anti-inflammatory therapy Humira, which has some of the largest sales for a drug ever recorded. The company was concerned, so in June of 2019 it announced that it has agreed to pay $63 billion for rival drugmaker Allergan, the latest merger in an industry in which some of the biggest companies have been willing to pay a high price to resolve questions about their future growth. The purchase officially closed in May of 2020.
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