Dividend Aristocrats gain 8.4% in 2016

The average dividend aristocrat ended the year 2016 with a gain of 8.4 percent.

Steel manufacturer Nucor (NUE) was the best performing stock, ending the year almost 50 percent higher.

We all know that 2016 was a difficult year for most dividend stocks, with the important health care and consumer staples sectors lagging, resulting in an underformance for many Dividend Aristocrats.

With an average gain of 8.4% (dividends excluded) the currently 51 Aristocrats posted a positive return for 2016, following a 1.2% loss in 2015.

The average dividend yield for the 51 aristocrats is 2.6% as of December 30, 2016, resulting in a double digit return with dividends included.

The big outperformer in 2016 was steelmaker Nucor, with a stock price gain of 47.7% and a current dividend yield of 2.5%. Nucor raised its dividend for the 44th consecutive year in 2016. The quarterly dividend was lifted by just 0.7% to $0.3775 per share, being the smallest dividend hike of all aristocrats in 2016.

cintas dividend aristocrat
Cintas raised its annual dividend by 26.9% in 2016
Also outperforming were Sysco (SYY), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), Chevron (CVX), Cincinnati Financial (CINF) and Cintas (CTAS) with stock price gains of at least 25%.

Check out the top gainers and losers (without dividends) below.

The top-10 of best performing Aristocrats in 2016

  1. Nucor (+47.7%)
  2. Sysco (+35.0%)
  3. Illinois Tool Works (+32.1%)
  4. Chevron (+30.9%)
  5. Cincinnati Financial (+28.0%)
  6. Cintas (+26.9%)
  7. ADM (+24.5%)
  8. AT&T (+23.6%)
  9. Dover (+22.2%)
  10. ADP (+21.3%)
Top-10 wost performing Aristocrats in 2016

  1. HCP -22.3%
  2. Cardinal Health -19.4%
  3. Abbott Labs -14.5%
  4. VF Corp -14.3%
  5. Hormel Foods -12.0%
  6. Kimberly-Clark -10.4%
  7. Brown-Forman -9.5%
  8. Medtronic -7.4%
  9. Lowe's -6.5%
  10. Clorox -5.4%
The biggest dividend hike in 2016 came from work uniforms maker Cintas, upping its annual payment by 26.7%.

Two more companies raised their dividend by more than 25% last year, being Sherwin-Williams (+25.4%) and Lowe's (+25%). The slowest dividend growth in 2016 came from Nucor, Chevron, Procter & Gamble and Emerson Electric, with dividend hikes of 0.7% to 1.1%.

If you are looking for yield, as always AT&T tops the list with a 4.6% yield as of December 30, 2016, followed by AbbVie (4.1%), Chevron (3.7%) and Consolidated Edison (3.6%). 

Looking at the dividend track records, industrial company Dover is still leading all Aristocrats with a dividend raised for 61 consecutive years. In August Dover increased its quarterly dividend by 4.8%.

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