There’s been a lot of negative news lately pertaining to dividends and earnings in the general market, but here is some evidence to the contrary… This past week two of our current holdings bucked a recent spate of dividend cuts and suspensions by announcing healthy increases to their payouts to shareholders. Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and consumer heavyweight Procter & Gamble (PG) each increased their dividends by 6%, marking the 58th and 64th consecutive annual raises, respectfully. Johnson & Johnson has shared profits on an uninterrupted basis since 1944, while Procter & Gamble has paid a dividend since 1891 – the same year James Naismith invented Basketball. These blue chip enterprises, with cash-flows and culture that place dividends at the heart of prudent capital allocation, are what we seek to own – in good times and bad. In the short term many market participants may not pay much attention to these announcements, particularly when other news appears more prominent at the time. As Benjamin Graham once said though, “In the short-run, the market is a voting machine, but in the long-run, the market is a weighing machine.” We don’t think this will change.
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