Walmart (WMT)

Known for its “Everyday Low Prices,” Walmart is now the largest retailer in the world by revenue. The company has approximately 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries around the world.

Every week, approximately 220 million customers visit Walmart’s stores and websites.

And because of its massive economies of scale, the business has remained resilient throughout several economic cycles.

That stability is also reflected in the amount of cash Walmart returns to shareholders.

Consider this: Walmart paid its first-ever dividend in 1974. Since then, it has increased its payout every single year.

While the booming e-commerce industry is often considered a threat to brick-and-mortar retailers, Walmart has turned it into a catalyst.

In the most recent fiscal quarter, e-commerce sales at Walmart U.S. were 87% higher compared to two years ago.

Walmart shares have been trading mostly sideways for the past year and currently offer an annual dividend yield of 1.7%.

The company usually makes dividend announcements for the year in February. Given how well its business has been doing, shareholders can look forward to another dividend increase from the retail giant next month.

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Coca-Cola (KO)

You don’t need to be an investment expert to know why Coca-Cola can be a great pick for dividend investors.

The behemoth is deeply entrenched in the global beverage industry. It has many iconic brands, with products being sold in more than 200 countries and territories. And even in a recession, a simple can of Coke is still affordable to most people.

As a century-old company, Coca-Cola has delivered enormous returns to long-term investors. A big reason for that is the company’s impressive track record of dividend growth.

Early last year, Coca-Cola’s board of directors approved a 2.4% dividend hike, raising the quarterly payout from 41 cents to 42 cents per common share. That was the company’s 59th consecutive annual dividend increase.

If history is any guide, investors can expect Coca-Cola to announce its 60th straight annual payout increase next month.

The shares have climbed roughly 30% over the past year and now offer an annual dividend yield of 2.8%.

While Coca-Cola has already built an established market position, its business is still growing. In Q3 of 2021, the company’s revenue grew 16% year over year to $10 billion. Adjusted earnings per share rose 18% from a year ago.

Genuine Parts Company (GPC)

As impressive as Coca-Cola’s track record is, there are companies that have delivered dividend growth longer than the beverage giant.

Genuine Parts Company is one of them. 2021 marked the 65th consecutive year of increased dividends paid to GPC shareholders.

GPC is an automotive and industrial replacement parts distributor. It has a global network of more than 10,000 locations in 14 countries.

The stock currently yields 2.4%.

The automotive industry is known to be a cyclical one. But as a replacement parts distributor, CPC’s business has thrived throughout different economic cycles.

In fact, since GPC’s founding in 1928, its sales have increased in 87 years of its 93-year history.

From 2010 to 2020, the company’s revenue increased at a compound annual growth rate of 6%.

A consistently growing business allows the company to deliver an increasing stream of cash returns through thick and thin.

Considering that GPC’s last dividend hike was announced in February 2021, the next one is likely to come within the coming weeks.

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An artful alternative

With dividend stocks, you don’t need to constantly buy and sell stocks to be successful. But you also don’t need to limit yourself to stocks in general.

Several real assets have survived all kinds of economic environments while also delivering market-beating returns.

For instance, contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

It’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market. On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12.

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Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

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About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, he was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree, both from the University of Toronto.

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