The Case for Dividends

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Dividends and dividend growth provide a solid basis for a stock’s intrinsic value. 

In the end, a stock will only be worth the value of the dividends it pays.

Numerous academic studies have established the importance of dividends and dividend reinvestment in investor returns.

In some studies, dividends accounted for more than half of long-term total returns.

Dividends are making a comeback.

The yield on the S&P 500 is still below historic norms at just under 2%, but real dividend growth (adjusted for inflation) is running at its best pace in decades.

Dividend is a simple and versatile analytic tool.

Less than half of U.S. stocks pay a dividend.

Stay with consistent growth, mature, moat-protected stocks.

It is not particularly well suited to deeply cyclical firms, whose earnings power and even dividend rates will vary widely from year to year.

It is also not suited for emerging-growth stories.

But for the ranks of relatively consistent, mature, moat-protected stocks – of which there are hundreds, if not thousands, to pick from – we can use the dividend as a critical selection too.

The advantages conferred by dividends

Compared with retained earnings or buybacks, a solid dividend:

  • establishes a firm intrinsic value for the stock, 
  • helps reduce the stock’s volatility, and 
  • acts as a check on management’s capital-allocation practices.

You can use the dividend to identify high-quality stocks with good total return prospects.

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