Last week, Cisco Systems (CSCO) announced their 2017 dividend increase of $0.03 per share, bringing the new quarterly dividend to $0.29 from last years $0.26. That increase is good for an 11.5% increase for the year. The current dividend yield for CSCO is at 3.44% based on the closing price of $33.74.

That increase beats my expectation of a $0.02 increase or 7.69% increase.

This makes 6 years straight of dividend increases from CSCO in the 7 years they have paid dividends. 2012 say 2 increases.

CSCO Dividend History:

Since CSCO initiated a dividend back in 2011, they have grown their dividend at an average of 35.40% per year. Granted their is a huge outlier in 2012 of more than doubling the dividend. 2013 was a weird year for dividend companies. There was a threat of a change in the taxation of dividends, so companies advanced dividend payments to shareholders. Some companies took on debt to declare a special dividend. Ultimately, tax treatment did not change at the last minute of the year. CSCO advance their first quarter dividend of 2013, paying it in 2012 instead. Ultimately, the 7 year dividend history of CSCO has given shareholders an almost 5 fold increase in dividend income at 383% increase for the time period. Tech remains one of the highest opportunities for dividend growth opportunities.

CSCO vs S&P500

While the dividend growth remains an opportunity for CSOC, one area that is disappointing to look at is the performance of the stock price. Looking back at the last decade, CSCO has severely underperformed the S&P500. Networking equipment is a pretty mature space. Sure, as bandwidth speeds increase, business and companies will need to upgrade equipment, but this will not be the boom from yester years of going from a wired to wireless connection. CSCO has been stuck in a multi year trading range from the 20s to low 30s. Thankfully this is a minor holding overall for my portfolio, as I just don’t see real long term capital appreciation opportunities.

CSCO Key Stats:

Market Cap: $171.32 Billion

Beta: 1.28

Dividend Yield: 3.44%

Payout Ratio: 47.37%

Total Cash: $71.85 Billion

Total Debt: $34.92 Billion

Profit Margin: 20.24%

The interesting thing about CSCO (and other tech plays like MSFT and AAPL) is looking at the cash in the piggy bank. I hate the fact that CSCO has been in a trading range for years and currently sits at the top end of that range. But cash compared to market cap looks freaking sexy. Think of it like this, CSCO has about 40% of their market cap sitting in cash. If we subtract out the debt, that drops to about 21%. That is a significant portion of the value of the company sitting in cash. I like to think of that as a safety net. The question is why do they have that much in cash. Are their not better investments in the company that can be made? Is cash being returned to shareholders through dividend increases the new expectation. I’m all for seeing the dividend increase, and looking at the cash and payout ratio, their is plenty of room for future increases. However, I want to see share price increase as well. Where is the revenue growth going to come from to drive share price up.

Conclusion:

I’m mixed on CSCO. I don’t think now is the time to jump into shares for a new investor. Waiting for a pullback in price breaking just below 30. I hate the trading range the stock has been in for a while. I would like to think there are better days ahead from a stock price standpoint, but don’t see what is really going to drive the price higher. Hey, even MSFT got it’s grove back after a long time, so there’s hope. But for now, I think CSCO is more of an income play. The balance sheet is clean, with significant cash, and a reasonable payout ratio allowing for future high single digit growth rates for the dividend. So from an income play, CSCO looks good. As far as capital appreciation, I think there are better plays in tech out there.

]]>The 2 cent increase falls short of my expectation for a 3 cent increase for the year (7.14%). Disappointing to see the penny difference, but the increase still outpaces inflation.

This increase from KO represents 12 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 2017, the average increase of the KO dividend has been 8.45%. 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 164%.

KO vs S&P500

KO is a pretty boring stock. They make 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 slightly outperformed the S&P500 (not factoring in dividends). This is good, but I’m hoping the plans KO has started to turn the business around kick into high gear. I want better performance from the stock and it’s been stuck in a pretty tight range the last couple years.

KO Key Stats:

Market Cap: $177.8 Billion

PE Ratio: 27.48

Beta: 0.70

Dividend Yield: 3.59%

Payout Ratio: 83.64%

Profit Margin: 15.65%

Total Cash: $22.20 Billiom

Total Debt: $45.71 Billion

The dividend yield is real nice at over 3.50%. PE is high for a beverage company. Ahhh, that debt is high and the payout ratio is starting to get up there. This ain’t a tobacco company.

Conclusion:

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.

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Last week MMM extended its streak of consecutive dividend increases to 59 straight years, and its streak of consecutive years with a dividend payment to 100 years. 2017 sees 3M giving shareholders a 5.86% increase to the dividend, bringing the new quarterly amount to $1.175 from last years $1.11. This increase does fall short of my projected 9 cent or 8.11% increase for the year. Factoring in the new dividend payment, MMM has a current dividend yield of 2.63%.

A Look at the Dividend History:

I fully intend to go back as far as possible and add more to 3M’s dividend history. But for now, looking back at the 15 year time frame, 2003-2017, we see MMM has averaged a dividend growth rate of 9.79% during the time frame. The dividend hikes have taken effect for the companies Q1 dividend, so the annual payout has grown at the same 9.79%. This rate of growth equates to dividend income more than tripling to the tune of 256% over that 15 years period. That far outpaces inflation and is much higher than wage growth.

MMM vs S&P500

Thankfully there’s more to MMM than just the growing dividend. Looking at performance over the past decade, we see that MMM has just over doubled the performance of the S&P500. There’s a reason MMM is used as an example in business school of a well oiled machine, plenty of product innovation to drive future growth.

MMM Stats:

Market Cap: $108 Billion

Beta: 0.93

PE Ratio: 23.10

Dividend Yield 2.63%

Payout Ratio: 54.85%

Profit Margin: 16.77%

Cash: $2.68 Billion

Debt: $11.65 Billion

Not to sound like a broken record, but the PE is a little high (like many stocks today in this market). Payout ratio allows for more years of dividend growth. Nothing really jumps out at me here.

Conclusion:

3M isn’t the most exciting company when you look at them from the surface. But digging in and seeing that impressive streak of 59 years straight for dividend increases allows an investor to slowly but surely build a nice and steady stream of dividend income. Sure you can probably hold out and pick up MMM a few bucks cheaper in the upper 170s, but there’s still good and steady upside to this stock.

]]>Anyways, the $0.04 increase beat my expectation for a $0.03 0r 11.54% increase for the year. This marks 11 of my holdings announcing increases so far on the year. It feels good knowing your cash flows are increasing without lifting a finger.

A Look at the Dividend History:

Although the above all inclusive history is short and sweet, the average increase on ATVI dividend sits at 10.48%. This translates to the dividend exactly doubling since 2008. That average dividend growth rate is slightly double my goal for my entire portfolio and far outpaces inflation. Is there room for this dividend growth rate to continue much longer? How has the stock performed?

ATVI vs S&P500

The above chart goes back 10 years. Clearly you can see ATVI has far outperformed the S&P500. As consumers have transitioned to more digital purchases for their home consoles, this has proven to be a boon for video games publishers compared to the old days of just using brick and mortar. Also, gaming has gone mainstream and lost much of the negative stereotype from back in the day. It also doesn’t hurt that ATVI owns Candy Crush and has a foot in mobile game sales as well.

ATVI Key Stats:

Market Cap: $35 Billion

PE Ratio: 106.998

Beta: 0.82

Profit Margin: 14.67%

Total Cash: $4.03 Billion

Totat Debt: $6.36 Billion

Dividend Yield: 0.64%

Payout Ratio: 22.61%

With that low payout ratio, I expect more of the same with regards to the dividend. For 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 I expect a 10% growth rate to the dividend. While the payout ratio has slightly increased from last year, there is still plenty of room for it to grow. Unlike the analyst jumping on the band wagon, I have concerns over the stock price. It’s a little rich for me to say jump in at this point, look at that P/E. There could be a little more upside to the tune of $2, but I think there is more downside potential vs upside, so I don’t think it’s worth the risk at this point. I’m even considering some covered calls at this point and exploring those options (pun intended).

Conclusion:

I’ve had a nice run with ATVI. Buddies introduced me to COD 4 back in the day and I didn’t second guess my stock purchase one bit back then. The stock has been a nice play for both capital appreciation and growing income. At this point, I think I will look at pricing on covered calls and let the market decide if I sell. For those looking to get into the stock, I think there will be a better entry point for those with patience, back in the high 30’s.

But if you have no fear. You can always pull a Leeroy Jenkins:

]]>The other day CME announced their 4th straight year of dividend increases. The quarterly dividend was increased from $0.60 to $0.66 per share, representing a 10% increase for the year. This brings the current dividend yield to 2.22%. This increase beats my expectation of a $0.05 increase to the dividend by $0.01. CME has had 12 dividend increases since going public in 2003. You should also read about their history of special dividends.

A Look at the Regular Dividend History:

The above spreadsheet looks solely at the regular quarterly dividend and does not include any of the special dividends.

What’s impressive about the dividend from CME, despite having 3 years with no increase and snapping streaks, is the growth of the quarterly dividend. Since paying the very first quarterly dividend of $0.028 back in 2003, up to the most recent upcoming dividend of $0.66 in 2017, the average annual growth rate has been an amazing 25.41%. Imagine your annual pay increasing that much every year. When we look at the annualized dividends from 2003 to 2017, dividend income alone has grown a total of 1,995.23%. Simply amazing. So 2 questions to ask: How has the stock performed? and Is the dividend sustainable?

CME vs S&P500

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then I guess this picture shows you that CME has handily outperformed the S&P500 by over 1000% since 2003. So the answer to how has the stock performed? One word, amazingly.

Company Stats:

Market Cap: $40.38Billion

PE Ratio: 27.73

Dividend Yield: 2.22%

Beta: 0.69

Profit Margin: 42.67%

Total Cash: $1.95 Billion

Total Debt: $2.23 Billion

Payout Ratio: 53.61%

Healthy profit margin, good cash on hand, relatively low debt. Looking at that payout ratio, shows they still have room for increasing their dividend years down the road, while also continuing their occasional special dividends.

Conclusion:

Looking at the above spreadsheet and charts, you can figure out that CME is a favorite long term holding of mine. I have a 2 year price target of $140 and believe the dividend has room to grow over the next 2 years around 10% each year. The best years of dividend growth being in the 30% area may be behind, but I can see a continued high single digit dividend growth going beyond 2019.

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The information is broken down into 3 sheets (look at the tabs at the bottom): Monthly, Quarterly, and Annually.

Hopefully, this information inspires anyone looking to hit FIRE (financial independence, retire early). It can be done.

Again, this is just the dividend income (passive) and does not include any capital appreciation.

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The first month of 2017 is looking promising. Through the end of January 2017, 8 of my 48 holdings in my dividend portfolio have announced an increase to their dividends for 2017 so far. This represents 16.67% of the portfolio. Also, my holdings in the portfolio will be reduced due to a merger of 2 of my REIT holdings. So the number of holdings in my dividend portfolio is decreasing to 47, so technically 17.02% of my holdings have increased their dividend so far.

The 8 holdings increasing their dividend so far are: ABBV, ABT, GE, HRL, KMB, MRK, PFE, and T.

Of the 8 holdings, 3 increases have met my expectation (GE, PFE, T), 2 increases fell below expectations (ABT & MRK), and 3 exceeded my expectations (ABBV, HRL, KMB).

In the chart below, you will see RED for falling below expectations, YELLOW meets expectations, and GREEN beats expectations.

For the month of January, the unweighted average of all 8 increases comes in at 6.5125%, well above my goal of seeing dividend income growth of 5% annually. My expectations for dividend growth from these 8 holdings was for an average of 6.2875%, so any slight over performance is more than welcome.

One disappointment so far has been Dow chemical (DOW). I was sort of expecting an increase in the first quarter. Sort of, because the merger with DuPont (DD) still has not gone through. Hopefully, after the merger takes place I’ll see that increase.

Late Q2 and throughout Q3 is where a lot of the magic happens with my dividend portfolio and the larger holdings in my account start announcing their increases. The remainder of Q1 should be rather quiet.

Stay tuned for a post coming soon showing my dividend income charted out from 2008 until January 2017. It’s a lot of data, but cool stuff to see how steadily growing passive income can grow with a consistent investment process. And yes, January 2017 has been the best month of passive dividend income so far.

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The company that makes products which absorbs/cleans up the waste that comes out of the human body has announced their 45th year with a consecutive dividend increase. Kimberly Clark, the maker of Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex, Pull Ups, Scott, Viva, Cottonelle, and Depends among other brands is my typical boring yet sexy as fuck holding. Not only do they have a stranglehold on human waste absorbtion at home, but next time you “take the browns to the super bowl” at work on the clock (I’m talking about taking a shit on the clock at work- ah, now you get the joke) look at the name on the toilet paper dispenser, paper towel dispenser, and the awkward toilet seat cover dispenser… I bet you’ll see Kimberly’s name proudly displayed. Something to think about next time you take a shit at work vs just looking up crap on your phone. Hopefully you get to take a shit at work in private…

Yep, that’s probably everyone’s worst nightmare just above.

So, for 2017, KMB announced a $0.05 increase to their dividend, bringing the quarterly dividend to $0.97 from last years $0.92. This represents an increase of 5.43%. This announcement beat my expectation of a $0.04 increase. Awesome sauce. Surprisingly, the news of 45 years of consecutive increases and now 83 years straight of paying a dividend, go little to no fan fare. I guess that happens when the earning release was pretty solid and the stock price jumps over $4.00 for the day. But readers of this site, know those slow and steady increases add up to big money over time. The current dividend yield on KMB stands at a healthy 3.21%.

KMB Dividend History:

Lets get serious for a second and look at the dividend history for KMB going back to 2005.

No, that is probably everyone’s worst nightmare.

But back to the dividend history…

I shit you not when I say this, but KMB is in elite company when it comes to dividends. 45 years of consecutive increases, 83 years straight of paying a dividend, and looking back from 2005 to 2017 an average annual increase to the quarterly dividend of 7.01%, with the average annual payout increasing at 7.14%. During that 12 year time frame, your dividend income more than doubled with a total growth rate of 125%.

KMB vs S&P500

How has KMB performed against the S&P500 over the last decade:

Since about the late summer of 2016, KMB has stumbled a bit. Despite the most recent correction, looking back at the last 10 years, KMB has still outpaced the performance of the S&P500 at the same time sporting a much better yield.

KMB Key Stats:

Market Cap: $43 Billion

Beta: 0.62

Dividend Yield: 3.21%

PE Ratio: 22

Payout Ratio: 66.18%

Profit Margin: 11.90%

Cash: $923 Million

Debt: $7.63 Billion

The payout ratio allows for future increases to continue. I wish the debt was a little lower. PE is fair given today’s environment and a lot better than most consumer staples.

Conclusion:

I like KMB at the current levels. It trades at 120.98, sports a solid dividend yield and has room to continue the dividend streak. 2 things that can benefit KMB: China’s continued incontinence issues and exchange rate opportunity. There’s definitely something in the water in China. They have a huge adult population who wear adult diapers and it’s growing. For exchange rates, I think an eventual weakening in the dollar will benefit all US multinationals that have experienced weaker earnings growth due to the recent years of dollar strength. The reversal of the dollar strength will probably take about 2 years to reverse. I have been long KMB for a very long time and don’t have any plans to sell for a really long time. For 2018, I am expecting a 4-5 cent increase to the dividend.

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Arithmetic Mean, more commonly referred to as mean or average, is the summation of observation divided by the number of observations. Or in plain English:

(1+2+3+4)/4

= 2.5

In finance, we are typically concerned with average rates of return over periods of time. Returns of the stock market indices, mutual funds, ETFs and individual stocks for 1, 3, 5, and 10 year periods typically. Calculating the average is real simple. However it may not be the best form of calculating an average due to outlying data. Basically arithmetic mean understates the effect a large single data point can have on the average.

Using arithmetic mean (which is used by mutual funds, ETFs, etc.) will lead investors to believing they made more money over time than they actually did.

What does that gibberish from the last sentence mean. Lets use an example with a 5 year sample of returns for the S&P500 from the years 2006-2010. I am using this 5 year time frame to include a negative year.

2006= +15.79

2007= +5.49

2008= -37.00

2009= +26.46

2010= +15.06

So in calculating the arithmetic mean we simply add up our returns: 15.79+5.49-37.00+26.46+15.06= 25.8

Next we divide the summation of our observation from above, by the number of occurrences (5). 25.8/5= 5.16%

So any reasonable investor would think $100 invested for 5 years at an average return of 5.16% would mean you have $128.60 at the end of 2010. But is this necessarily correct?

Lets look a bit deeper and see if this is correct, by using $100 invested at the start of 2006 and figuring the value we would have at the end of each year.

At the end of 2006, our $100 investment would be worth $115.79 (calculated 100*1.1579)

At the end of 2007, our $115.79 investment would be worth $122.14 (calculated 115.79*1.0549)

At the end of 2008, our $122.14 investment would be worth $76.95 (calculated 122.14*(1-0.37)). Oh no, we are in the hole now.

At the end of 2009, our $76.95 investment would be worth $97.31 (calculated 76.95*1.2646)

At the end of 2010, our $97.31 investment would be worth $111.96 (calculated 97.31*1.1506)

Hold the fuck up! Above we showed an average 5 year return on the S&P500 of 5.16% and applying that average return on $100 we showed a closing value of $128.60. However when we calculate what $100 actually invested in the S&P500 would be worth, we come up with $111.96. $111.96 vs $128.60 are not even close with a difference of $16.64 overstated. Don’t think it’s a big deal. Imaging $100,000 or some other large dollar amount, and the difference is more substantial. Is there a better means of calculating mean? (See what I did there)

Geometric mean is a way of calculating an average which uses the product (multiplication) of the observations as opposed to arithmetic using the summation (addition). In other words, geometric mean is the nth root of the product of n observations.

Calculating Geometric Mean for returns by hand is actually quite simple:

{[(1+r)(1+r)…]^(1/n)} -1

where r is the return for each observation point

and n is the total number of observations

Lets use our data points from the S&P 500 again from above.

2006= +15.79

2007= +5.49

2008= -37.00

2009= +26.46

2010= +15.06

Using geometric mean, we arrive at an average of:

{[(1.1579)*(1.0549)*(0.63)*(1.2646)*(1.1506)]^(1/5)}-1

{[1.11969682]^(.20)}-1

(1.02286917)-1

= 0.02286917 or 2.28%

Geometric mean better handles the effect of outliers, but also negative returns. Here we come up with a geometric mean of 2.28% vs the arithmetic mean of 5.16% for the same sets of data. In this case, the arithmetic mean is more than twice as high as the geometric mean.

So, now lets apply our geometric mean of 2.28% to the $100 initial investment and see where we are after 5 years and compare to arithmetic.

Using the 2.28% geometric mean on an initial $100 investment, after 5 years we have a closing value of $111.93. Compared to the arithmetic mean ending 5 year value of $128.60. A difference between the 2 averages of $16.67 or what I’d say is statistically significant when it comes to money.

More interesting is comparing the 5 year ending value of the geometric mean of $111.93 to the actual ending value of investing in the S&P500 from above of $111.96. A difference of only $0.03 understated. Compare that to the difference of using arithmetic mean at $16.64 overstated ($128.60-$111.96).

Think about the differences in numbers above using arithmetic vs geometric mean. When you pull information for returns on mutual funds and ETFs, they are reporting arithmetic mean. If a return was constant year after year, no big deal. However, because of variability/volatility of returns and compounding, arithmetic mean will overstate the performance of a mutual fund, which in turn translates to overstating your potential account balance. This sucks, because in reality your balance will be lower. Geometric mean offers a better may of stating the returns of mutual funds over time and better reflect the actual dollar balance an investor has. That’s why this matters. It affects your money.

So what do the SEC and FINRA actually do to protect investors? Returns are being misquoted to investors. Add on top of this the ridiculous fees that many mutual funds have, and investors are fighting even more of an uphill battle with no actual regulators doing a thing to protect them.

Coming soon, we will take another look at average returns and how the timing of returns also makes a big difference on portfolio values.

]]>This increase falls well short of my $0.02 expected increase. Suffice it to say this year is a disappointment from ABT, both in terms of stock performance and dividend growth. I suspect the company will probably announce some layoffs for cost savings.

The miniscule dividend increase brings the streak of continuous increases to 45 years straight, and the continuous dividend payment streak stands at 93 years.

The current dividend yield on ABT sits at 2.77%.

ABT Dividend History:

I want to take a look at the ABT dividend a few ways, since there was the spinoff of ABBV back in 2013.

This first chart shows the ABT dividend history from 2005-2017, adjusted for the spinoff of ABBV. When you look at the change in the dividend from 2012 to 2013, this was not a decrease that occurred. Shareholders of ABT received shares in ABBV as a result of the spin off, and ABBV paid a dividend. So you got a little increase in your dividend income as a result of the spinoff, just between 2 companies. So yes, ABT has a 45 year dividend increase streak and I’ll show you that in a moment. To calculate the average growth on the dividend, I show a couple of different ways of calculating those figures. You’ll largely want to ignore those figures, since the spinoff adds some complications. This chart is useful for looking at the average growth on the dividend of ABT from 2005-2012

Lets look at what happened in 2013, when ABBV was spun off from ABT.

The above chart shows what happened to the ABT dividend in 2013, a large portion of the dividend payment fell under ABBV.

To make your life simple, I took the time to combine the data of ABT and ABBV.

The above chart combines the dividends of both ABT and ABBV, as if the spinoff never occurred in 2013. For someone that was a long term shareholder of ABT, and kept their shares of ABBV, I think this represents the best true growth in the dividend of ABT. Here you see that average growth of the quarterly dividend from 2005-2017 is 10.50% (arithmetic) and the annual payout amount sits at 10.61%. Your dividend income during that 12 year time frame has grown a total of 233% or a little more than tripled. Not bad.

ABT vs S&P500

I won’t lie, the last year as an ABT shareholder has been disappointing to say the least. However, the last decade ABT has matched the S&P500 performance, while giving shareholders a better dividend yield and better dividend growth.

ABT Key Data:

Market Cap: $57Billion

Beta: 1.48

PE Ratio: 25.78

Dividend Yield: 2.77%

Payout Ratio: 154.55%

Profit Margin: 6.61%

Total Cash: $4.51Billion

Total Debt: $8.51Billion

The payout ratio is scary. However I firmly believe ABT will cut cost and won’t be surprised to hear about layoffs. This company protects the dividend at any cost. Also the 4.51 Billion in cash and the company’s free cash flow provide adequate safety margin on the dividend.

Conclusion

Despite the disappointing year for ABT, I actually think the current price is a buying opportunity to get in on a company with a strong dividend history. Am I worried about the dividend? No, they’ll have a bunch of layoffs to keep the dividend streak going if they need to, as they work to grow earnings. For 2018, I expect ABT to provide an increase of $0.01 per share to the dividend.

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