This Dividend Aristocrat Just Gave Investors a Great Early Christmas Gift

Christmas hasn’t arrived yet, even though the Hallmark Channel has been airing Christmas movies since October. You still have a little over a week to finish your shopping.

Some investors have already received a nice present, though. One of the strongest Dividend Aristocrats on the market recently gave shareholders a great early Christmas gift. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) announced a dividend increase on Dec. 11. There’s a lot about this dividend hike for investors to like.

Three impressive numbers

Abbott is boosting its dividend payout by a whopping 25%. The healthcare giant’s board of directors approved an increase of its quarterly dividend to $0.45. Based on Abbott’s current share price, the move will increase its dividend yield to nearly 1.7%. It’s the largest dividend increase for the company since 2013, when Abbott raised its dividend by the same percentage. 

But the amount of the dividend increase was only one of three impressive numbers related to Abbott’s recent announcement. Another remarkable number is 49. That’s how many consecutive years of dividend increases the company has delivered. Abbott is only a year away from reaching the next level of dividend greatness by becoming a Dividend King — members of the S&P 500 with 50 or more years of consecutive dividend increases.

What’s the third impressive number? 388. It reflects the number of consecutive quarters that Abbott has paid a dividend. The tremendous run began way back in 1924 as Calvin Coolidge was wrapping up his first term as U.S. president.

Behind Abbott’s success

No company can pay a dividend for 388 quarters in a row and raise its dividend for 49 years in a row without doing an awful lot right. Arguably the biggest key to Abbott’s long-term success is the company’s ability to innovate and adapt to changes in the healthcare landscape.

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