Finding a company with a long track record of consistent dividend payments is only part of the winning formula for investing in dividend stocks. Dividend growth matters, too. Rising dividends not only make a stock more attractive to new income investors, but steady dividend hikes also reward existing investors on shares purchased at lower prices in the past.
It’s not hard to find well-known names with long track records of annual dividend growth. Just start with the Dividend Aristocrats, a list of 50 companies in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index that have hiked their dividends every year for at least 25 consecutive years. A number of huge companies top this list, including AT&T (T), Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Procter & Gamble (PG). But there’s a world of smaller, lesser known stocks that boast consistent dividend growth of four decades or more. We culled the following sometimes surprising names from among the 25 smallest Dividend Aristocrats. Check out these 17 stocks whose dividends have increased annually for at least 40 consecutive years.