Investing

# Dividend Stocks Charlie Munger Would Have Loved

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In the high-stakes world of investing, the late great Charlie Munger’s playbook stands out for its focus on fundamental strength and long-term value—principles that have cemented his legacy alongside Warren Buffett at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A). Munger’s strategy zeroes in on dividend-paying titans that have strong fundamentals, durable competitive advantages and capable management. These companies are characterized by their unshakeable market positions and unwavering commitment to shareholder returns. Munger, like Buffett, prefers companies that generate consistent earnings, have strong brand recognition, and possess a competitive moat that protects them from rivals.

Munger’s methodology, distilled into six critical attributes

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  1. Reliable Cash Generators: Munger champions companies entrenched in industries essential to daily life—think utilities, consumer staples, and healthcare. These sectors are the bedrock of stability, offering predictable cash flows even when economic headwinds blow.
  2. Fortified Market Leaders: The Munger seal of approval is reserved for businesses boasting a formidable economic moat—whether through unparalleled brand loyalty, proprietary technology, or scale advantages. These firms stand their ground against competitors, ensuring sustained profitability.
  3. Efficient Capital Utilizers: A high return on capital is a non-negotiable for Munger, signaling a company’s prowess in deploying investments for robust growth. It’s this metric that indicates potential for wealth compounding over time, a cornerstone of Munger’s wealth-building creed.
  4. Debt-Averse Operators: Munger’s conservative streak shines in his preference for companies that steer clear of excessive borrowing. In his view, a lean balance sheet is indicative of strategic foresight and resilience.
  5. Consistent Dividend Payers: A track record of regular, increasing dividends is Munger’s litmus test for financial health and a management team’s allegiance to shareholder value.
  6. Value-Oriented Picks: At the heart of Munger’s strategy is the hunt for bargains. Stocks trading below their intrinsic value offer a margin of safety against the unpredictable swings of the market, aligning with Munger’s cautious optimism.

In the current investment landscape, stalwarts like The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) echo Munger’s criteria, melding brand dominance with financial prudence. These companies not only promise stability and growth but also reflect Munger’s belief in the enduring power of value investing. As always, savvy investors should tread carefully, armed with thorough research or guided by professional advice, to navigate the complexities of the market in true Munger fashion.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

Source: courtesy of Procter & Gamble Co.

Procter & Gamble shines as a beacon of stability and growth in the tumultuous sea of the market, embodying the investment philosophy Charlie Munger advocates. With an impressive annual dividend yield of 2.36% and a robust market capitalization of $374.6 billion, PG stands tall. Its low beta of 0.44 signals reduced volatility, aligning with Munger’s preference for firms that can weather market fluctuations. Moreover, PG’s ability to sustain a competitive advantage is underscored by its significant revenue growth of 4.54% over 12 months, coupled with a commendable return on equity of 29.85% in Q2 2024, showcasing operational efficiency and a firm grip on market leadership.

Coca-Cola (KO)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Coca-Cola epitomizes the investment philosophy Munger champions, boasting an annual dividend yield of 3.01%, a testament to its commitment to shareholder value. With a beta of 0.58, it exemplifies the stability Munger prizes, supported by a substantial market capitalization of $263.6 billion. Its revenue growth of 6.34% over the last 12 months, coupled with an impressive return on equity of 40.92% in the most recent quarter, showcases the operational efficiency and competitive moat that align with Munger’s criteria for a robust, dividend-paying company.

Wells Fargo (WFC)

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Wells Fargo, with an impressive dividend yield of 2.87% and a robust annual growth rate, mirrors the investment principles Charlie Munger values. Its market capitalization of $187.8 billion and a beta of 1.17 indicate a balanced blend of size and stability, fitting Munger’s criteria. Particularly noteworthy is the company’s revenue growth of 27.16% in the last quarter, alongside a net income increase of 20.32%, showcasing the operational efficiency and financial health that Munger seeks in a dividend-paying company.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

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Johnson & Johnson, with a dividend yield of 3.00% and a beta of 0.53, showcases the financial stability and resilience valued by Munger. Its market cap of $381.2 billion and revenue growth of 7.30% in the last quarter underscore a robust competitive position and operational efficiency. The impressive return on equity of 34.34% further highlights J&J’s ability to generate significant profits from shareholder equity, aligning perfectly with Munger’s investment criteria for durable, dividend-paying companies.

Eternal Wisdom

In December 2023, the investment world bid farewell to Charlie Munger at the age of 99, a titan whose strategies and wisdom have left an indelible mark. Though Munger may have passed, his investment principles—emphasizing value, stability, and foresight—remain timeless. For investors and companies alike, from Berkshire Hathaway to giants like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo, and Coca-Cola, Munger’s philosophy serves as a guiding star. His legacy, encapsulating a blend of discipline and insight, will continue to inspire and shape the world of finance for generations to come.

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