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Dividend Legends: 3 Stocks With Over 100 Years of Payouts

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Winston Churchill reportedly told the House of Commons, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.” You can say pretty much the same thing about dividend investing. It’s the worst investment strategy, except for all the others that have been devised.

Studies show that stocks outperform all other asset classes over time, and companies that pay dividends consistently outperform all other stocks. Thus, investing in dividend-paying companies is the best path to creating enormous wealth. There is a good reason for that. Dividend payers tend to be successful, profitable companies that have often been through numerous economic and business cycles. They’ve been tested in the crucible of the market and come out the other side in fine shape.

You might be hard-pressed to find better investments than dividend stocks with 100-plus years of payouts. More than a dozen companies began paying dividends in the Roaring Twenties or before and are still paying them today. Below are three top dividend stocks that all started sharing their wealth with investors in the 1800s. They just might be worth adding to your portfolio now.

Eli Lilly ( LLY)

Eli Lilly and Company World Headquarters. Lilly makes Medicines and Pharmaceuticals XI

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) made its first dividend payment in 1885. Some 139 years later, those income checks still arrive in shareholder mailboxes. Today is arguably the best time to own Eli Lilly stock than at any other point before.

The advent of the twin diabetes and obesity therapies Mounjaro and Zepbound mark a new period of growth for the pharmaceutical stock. Belonging to a class of drugs known as glycogen-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), these treatments lower blood sugar levels in patients using the same active ingredient, tirzepatide. Mounjaro is approved for type 2 diabetes, while Zepbound is approved for helping patients with weight loss.

Lilly saw a 28% increase in total fourth-quarter revenue on higher prices from Mounjaro, which generated $2.2 billion in sales for the period. It saw $5.1 billion in sales for all of 2023. Zepbound was introduced in the fourth quarter and generated $175 million in sales. Expect that number to rocket higher going forward, as Mounjaro had only made $279 million in its first quarter after its introduction in 2022.

Eli Lilly stock’s dividend yields 0.6% but has steadily climbed for the past decade. In December, the pharma hiked the quarterly payout by 15% to $1.30 per share.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL)

Colgate toothpaste and mouthwash in a cup with a toothbrush

Source: monticello / Shutterstock.com

Toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) has an equally distinguished track record of paying a dividend, making its first payment in 1895. However, it began regularly increasing the payout in 1963, and the 61-year history of dividend hikes makes the consumer products giant a Dividend King.

Best known for its toothpaste and dishwashing detergent, Colgate owns a portfolio of top-selling, brand-name products. It owns Irish Spring soap, Speed Stick deodorant and Ajax cleaner, among others. It owns theglobal marketin oral care products but is also a leader in personal care products and specialty pet nutrition products through Science Hill’s dog and cat food business.

That’s the benefit of owning so many name brands. Consumers know and trust the consistency and quality of what they buy no matter where they are in the world. A tube of Colgate toothpaste will be the same whether you pick it up in Guatemala or Peoria. Oral care products represent 42% of Colgate’s total revenue.

The quarterly dividend increased last month to $0.50 per share, yielding 2.3% annually.

Procter & Gamble (PG)

A Procter & Gamble (PG) distribution center in Vandalia.

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

For many of the same reasons that Colgate has been a long time global success, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) is one as well. It also has a deep bench of consumer products with the No. 1 or No. 2 market share position in their respective categories. Well-known brands like Crest, Charmin, Febreeze, Pampers, and Tide have the same reliability for consumers as they do for their rival products.

Procter & Gamble began paying dividends in 1890 and announced its 68th consecutive annual increase in payouts and the 134th year of paying dividends earlier this month. It raised the quarterly payout to an excruciatingly $1.0065 per share earlier this month.

Products like those P&G makes are essential for everyday living. It’s a smart business strategy because it ensures consumers return again and again to buy more. It also makes Procter & Gamble stock an all-weather company to own. If the stock market collapses, investors can be sure that P&G will still profitably sell plenty of toilet paper, diapers and detergent.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey held a LONG position in PG and CL stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on Nasdaq.com, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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