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3 Dividend Aristocrats to Buy in April and Hold for Years

Investing in dividend-growth stocks is one of the most powerful and time-proven strategies to build wealth. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three dividend aristocrats with yields of 4-7% that you could buy today.

CI Financial Corp. (TSX:CIX)

CI Financial is one of Canada’s leading wealth management and investment fund companies with approximately $140.9 billion in assets under management as of February 28, 2018.

CI Financial currently pays a monthly dividend of $0.1175 per share, equating to $1.41 per share annually, which gives it a yield of about 5.2% at the time of this writing. The company has raised its annual dividend payment each of the last eight years, and its 2.2% hike in May 2017 has it on track for 2018 to mark the ninth consecutive year with an increase.

I think CI Financial’s very strong cash-flow-generating ability, including its 7.2% increase in free cash flow (FCF) to $648.4 million in 2017, and its conservative dividend-payout ratio, including just 56.8% of its FCF in 2017, will allow it to announce another dividend hike in its fiscal 2018 first-quarter earnings release on May 10.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (TSX:BIP.UN)(NYSE:BIP)

Brookfield is one of the world’s largest owners and operators of high-quality, long-life infrastructure assets, including rail tracks, ports, communications towers, electricity transmission lines, natural gas transmission lines, and storage facilities.

Brookfield currently pays a quarterly distribution of US$0.47 per unit, representing US$1.88 per unit annually, which gives its NYSE-listed shares a yield of about 4.5% at the time of this writing. The infrastructure giant has raised its annual distribution each of the last eight years, and its 8% hike in February has it on track for 2018 to mark the ninth consecutive year with an increase.

Foolish investors must also note that Brookfield has a long-term distribution-growth target of 5-9% annually, and I think its very strong financial performance, including its 14.3% increase in funds from operations (FFO) to US$3.11 per unit in 2017, and its sound payout ratio, including 67.9% of its FFO in 2017, will allow it to easily achieve this growth target into the 2020s.

Plaza Retail REIT (TSX:PLZ.UN)

Plaza Retail REIT is one of Canada’s largest owners and managers of retail real estate with a portfolio of 298 properties across the country that total approximately 7.83 million square feet of gross leasable area.

Plaza currently pays a monthly distribution of $0.0233 per unit, representing $0.28 per unit on an annualized basis, which gives it a yield of about 7% at the time of this writing. The REIT has raised its annual distribution for 14 straight years, and its 3.7% hike that took effect in January has it on track for 2018 to mark the 15th straight year with an increase; this will give Plaza the longest active streak for a public REIT in Canada once Choice Properties REIT closes its acquisition of the current leader, Canadian REIT, in the second quarter of 2018.

I think Plaza’s very strong financial performance, including its 9.1% increase in adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) to $0.325 per unit in 2017, and the consistent improvement in its payout ratio, including 83.1% of its AFFO in 2017 compared with 87.6% in 2016, will allow it to continue to be one of the REIT industry’s best sources of income and distribution growth going forward.

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Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned. Brookfield Infrastructure Partners is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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