Where are stock prices going next? Don’t ask me. I don’t have any idea. Predicting the stock market’s next move is a mug’s game. Most people will admit they’re terrible at it. The rest? They’re probably lying.
So, if nobody can call the next 200 points on the TSX, what should you do with your money? You could do worse than double down on dividends. While nobody can tell you where the stock market is going from one day to the next, dividends can always be counted on to provide a steady stream of income.
In some ways, dividends are like a marriage contract between a company and their shareholders. Everyone knows a divorce can be messy. That’s why executives always want to pay investors through good times and bad.
In fact, some companies are so predictable, investors can anticipate not only when they’ll receive a dividend, but also when the firm will raise it. Of course, there are no sure things when it comes to investing. However, I suspect the following five companies will hike their payouts again within the next year.
5-Year Dividend Growth Rate
|Royal Bank of Canada||3.8%||9.0%|
Source: Yahoo! Finance
Let’s say a few words about these companies.
The story is straightforward with Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) and Canadian Utilities Limited (TSX:CU). They’re both well-run power companies serving millions of customers across the country. They turn their lights on and you get paid.
It’s simple, stable, and lucrative. You’re not going to live in the dark just because the power company hiked your electric bill by a few bucks. That’s why these two firms have been able to increase their dividends for 42 straight years—the longest streaks of consecutive distribution hikes in the country.
Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB)(NYSE:ENB) is one of the most predictable dividend stocks around—and that’s not just my opinion. Last year executives pledged to increase the company’s distribution by 10-12% annually through 2017.
Of course, you can’t cash those cheques just yet. Any dividend hikes will depend on the company’s cash flows and still have to be approved by the board. However, management would not have raised investors’ expectations unless they were sure they could deliver.
Like Enbridge, Canadian REIT (TSX:REF.UN) is easy to disregard because the trust sports one of the smallest yields in the real estate space. However, skipping over this income stream because of its meager payout today would be a mistake.
While most REITs raise their payouts at a snail’s pace (or not at all), Canadian REIT has managed to pass on six distribution hikes in the past five years. Given enough time, even this income trickle can become a raging river of cash flow.
Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, we have the Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY)(NYSE:RY). Account fees, statement fees, inactivity fees: Canadians banks are always finding some ingenious new way to milk their customers.
Last week, RBC announced that it will start charging some account holders $5 each time they pay their mortgages. Where will all of this money go? Shareholders. I suspect RBC will be announcing another dividend hike in the summer or later this year.
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor Robert Baillieul has no position in any stocks mentioned.