Dividend Increase: Coca Cola (KO) 2018

Coca Cola (KO) announced their 2018 dividend increase of $0.02 per share, bringing the quarterly amount to $0.39 per share from last years $0.37. Good for a 5.41% increase on the year. This brings the current dividend yield to 3.49% based on the price of $44.64. This represents 98 years straight of dividend payments and 56 years straight of a dividend increase, one of the most impressive streaks on Wall Street.

The 2 cent increase falls exactly inline with my expectation for a 2 cent increase for the year.

This increase from KO represents 17 of my holdings increasing dividends so far on the year.

KO Dividend History:

The above charts reflects an adjusted dividend for stock splits. Going back to 2005 thru 2018, the average increase of the KO dividend has been 8.22%. The increase has historically taken place with the companies first dividend on the year paid in April. That average growth is good for your income more than doubling during that 13 year time frame for a total growth of the dividend equating to 178%.

KO vs S&P500

KO is a pretty boring stock. The maker of sugary beverages consumed around the world, the last couple of years, we’ve started to see major cities proposing sugar taxes. This and a strong dollar have created headwinds for KO. To diversify its product line, in the last few years, KO has diversified by getting into healthier beverages that cater to younger generations. The sugar tax does worry me a bit and I hope it’s not a trend that catches on. 1 local governments are overstepping boundaries and 2 it sets a scary precedent of local governments imposing additional taxes on junk and fast food or other things we like to indulge in. So kind of the government to look out for us dumb people who can’t make good eating decisions and penalize people for eating what we like.

Looking at the above chart, we see KO has underperformed the S&P500 (not factoring in dividends) over the last couple years.  I want better performance from the stock and it’s been stuck in a pretty tight range the last couple years.  At current levels and the current rough patch we had the first week of February, I think this represents a good chance to get into the stock.

KO Key Stats:

Market Cap: $190.75 Billion

PE Ratio: 43.13

Beta: 0.56

Dividend Yield: 3.49%

Payout Ratio: 140.38%

Profit Margin: 12.20%

Total Cash: $27.36 Billiom

Total Debt: $49.17 Billion

The dividend yield is real nice at 3.49%. PE is high for a beverage company. Ahhh, that debt is high and the payout ratio is up there. This ain’t a tobacco company.


I still think KO is worth a look for a long position today.

Here is what I said in 2017.

“KO is in the middle of a restructuring plan to turn business around and bring back earnings growth. Recently, the Feb 9 earnings report brought a pretty decent 1 day drop on the stock price. I actually placed 2 trades recently on KO, picking up 400 shares at 40.89 on Feb 10, and another 400 shares at 40.35 on Feb 14th. Basically, I’m looking for the stock to return back to about $42 within the next few months, say around this summer. Those 2 trades place my average price at $40.62. On Friday, the stock closed trading at $41.23, representing a profit of $0.61 per share or $488 total. Not bad for just a few days of non work. As the stock approaches back around $42, I plan to short the August 42 or 43 calls, currently at $1.03 and $0.66 respectively. This would represent a total profit potential of $2520 ($1104 change in stock price, $592 in dividends for 2 quarters, $824 from shorting 8 call contracts at $1.03) give or take depending on trade execution, good for a potential 7.75% return. Since KO was near a 52 week and multiyear low, I figure there wasn’t too much risk in picking up $32,000 worth of KO stock. Now, I am long shares of KO that I may never sell, but the 800 shares mentioned in this trade are more of a short term possible trade. I like KO for the growing dividend and hope the turn around plans start to pay off.

For more on covered call writing trades, click here.”

Something New:

I’d like to start showing the value a bit more of long term investing and factoring in dividends (unreinvested).  The idea is to show actual dollar values in conjunction with the above data, but actually put numbers down on paper.

Lets say you invested $10,000 in KO back on January 3, 2005 (first trading day of the year).  The Split adjusted price was $20.77 per share, so you pick up 481 shares (rounding down).  Today is 2/15/2018 and KO closed at $44.78, meaning your initial $10,000 investment is now worth $21,539.18.  That is just the capital appreciation on the stock, representing a 115% return.  If we factor in the dividends from 2005- 2017 (not reinvested), we would have received a total of $6166.42 in dividends during the time frame.  Adding the dividends to the $21,539.18, we come up with an ending total return of 177%.

A few notes: during this time frame (05-17) we collected $6166.42 in dividends, while our initial investment consisted of $10,000, so we’ve recouped 61% of our initial investment in dividends alone.  Also, look at the difference the dividends made when looking at total returns, a difference of 62%.  If those dividends were reinvested during this time frame, your total return would be even higher.

Something else cool to notice.  The dividends on the stock in 2018 will total $1.56 f0r the year in this example.  If you take your current annual dividend you receive and divide that by your original share price when purchased ($20.77), we come up with a yield on cost of 7.51%.  Basically, because of the power of buy and hold investing, you are getting the equivalent of a 7.51% return from the stock in 2018 just from the dividend alone.  This is where patience pays off (we are not even factoring in share price appreciation).

This shows the power of dividends on total returns.  Several papers have been written showing dividends account for as much as 40% of total market returns.

KO is a simple stock to follow and understand.  If you are just starting out investing, you can actually follow the old Peter Lynch mantra, invest in products you use.  For someone who likes to drink Coke, this is a easy dip your toe in the water stock to get your feet wet with the market.

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