As the market becomes increasingly volatile amid a historic drop in oil prices and uncertainty following the Fed's decision to raise interest rates late last year, investors could definitely use a sure thing.
While one may be inclined to follow Robert Burns' advice that there is no such uncertainty as a sure thing, these four stocks have been so consistent in their dividend payouts over the last 25 years that they can almost be considered a sure thing.
The two stocks on this list are blue-chip dividend stocks that generate consistent free cash flow, operate in slow-changing industries, maintain healthy balance sheets and have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to shareholders over the years.
We used commentary from equity research analyst Brian Bollinger as well as Real Money chartist Bruce Kamich for this report.
(Read TheStreet's full list of 7 safe high-yield dividend stocks.)
CINF raised its dividend by 4% earlier this month, continuing its streak of more than 50 consecutive dividend increases. But its strong dividend history isn't the only thing CINF has going for it.
"The stock trades at 21.3 times forward earnings estimates and has a dividend yield of 3.1%, which is lower than its five-year average dividend yield of 3.8%," commented Bollinger. "The stock looks a little pricey compared with the market and its historical multiples, but its dividend yield is very safe."
"This chart of Cincinnati Financial (CINF) shows some deep corrections the past 12 months, but overall, it is an uptrend. Both the 50-day and the 200-day moving averages are rising. The OBV line is rising as well. The MACD oscillator is in a bullish set up, rising above the zero line," said Kamich.
"This last longer-term chart of KMB is impressive and bullish. The price of KMB is rising and above the rising 40-week moving average. The On-Balance-Volume (OBV) line has been rising and the MACD oscillator is bullish," said Kamich.
KMB manufacturers a variety of consumer products, ranging from tissue to toilet paper to diapers. While brands like Kleenex and Huggies are ubiquitous in America, over half of the company's revenue comes from overseas. Earlier this month, Kimberly Clark also raised its dividend payout by 5%. The company's payout ratio has averaged about 60% the past few years.
"The stock trades at 21.1 times forward earnings estimates and has a dividend yield of 2.8%, which is somewhat lower than its five-year average dividend yield of 3.2%," said Bollinger. "Although the company's growth prospects are low, its cash flow is extremely reliable and high-quality."
"The chart of KMB keeps going up and up. Someone put a fire on the bottom of KMB in September and October. Prices started to accelerate this fall, climbing over the 50 and 200-day averages with a rising OBV line. The trend following MACD oscillator is also positive," wrote Kamich.
"This last longer-term chart of KMB is impressive and bullish. The price of KMB is rising and above the rising 40-week moving average. The On-Balance-Volume (OBV) line has been rising and the MACD oscillator is bullish," Kamich said.