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Buy and ho-ho-hold: Five stocks to give dividend lovers

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John Heinzl is the dividend investor for Globe Investor's Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here. You can see his model portfolio here.

What investing style does Santa prefer?

Buy and ho-ho-hold, of course.

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With that in mind, Yield Hog has put together a list of holiday-themed dividend growth stocks to consider for that special someone on your gift list. Imagine the surprise when little Caitlin wakes up Christmas morning to find 100 shares of Wal-Mart or Enbridge under the tree!

Dividend stocks are the gifts that keep on giving. Long after this year's hottest toys are forgotten and the latest electronic gadgets are piling up in a landfill, these stocks should still be cranking out dividends. And, if past trends continue, the dividends will be growing for many years to come.

I'll take that over a necktie any day. (Hint, hint.) Consider this a starting point for further research.

TIM HORTONS

(THI - TSX)

Dividend yield: 1.8 per cent

5-yr. div. growth: 24.6 per cent*

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Nothing says "I love you, honey" like a Tim Hortons gift card. And nothing says "I really, really love you, honey" like a board lot of Tim Hortons shares. Tims stock has cooled considerably – it's down more than 20 per cent from its 52-week high – as same-store sales growth has slowed. But that's a good thing because the stock is now reasonably priced, with a forward price-to-earnings multiple of a little more than 15. The modest yield won't make you rich, but Bloomberg estimates that Tims will boost the dividend by 19 per cent in February.

MATTEL

(MAT - Nasdaq)

Dividend yield: 3.4 per cent

5-yr. div. growth: 10.6 per cent

Mattel's stock has been on a roll, boosted by strong sales of Fisher-Price, American Girl and Monster High products, which have offset weakness in Barbie and Hot Wheels. Yet the stock still trades at a reasonable 13 times estimated 2013 earnings, and the dividend is growing, with a 16-per-cent increase expected in February, Bloomberg estimates. The toy industry has been

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pressured by the popularity of tablets and video games, but the growing middle class in China, India, Brazil and Russia – where toy spending is still a fraction of that in North America – will increase demand for Mattel's products.

ENBRIDGE

(ENB - TSX)

Dividend yield: 2.9 per cent

5-yr. div. growth: 12.9 per cent

What does a pipeline company have to do with holiday season, you ask? Well, among other things, Enbridge owns a natural gas utility, so my family doesn't have to freeze our buns off while we open presents on Christmas morning. What I really like about Enbridge, though, is its predictable dividend growth: With $30-billion of "secured" and "highly certain" projects on the way, the company is projecting double-digit growth in earnings and dividends for the next five years. The next dividend hike, expected this week, will be about 13 per cent, Bloomberg estimates.

WAL-MART

(WMT - NYSE)

Dividend yield: 2.2 per cent

5-yr. div. growth: 13.5 per cent

Wal-Mart has increased its dividend every year since making its first payment back in 1974, so the trend is your friend with the world's biggest retailer. With its U.S. operations back on track, Wal-Mart had its "best ever" Black Friday, just days after it reaffirmed the top end of its full-year earnings per share guidance – which, if achieved, would represent an 8.6-per-cent increase from a year earlier. The stock's had an impressive run, but the forward P/E of 13.4 isn't out of line, and Bloomberg expects Wal-Mart to boost its dividend by about 10.7 per cent in February.

APPLE

(AAPL-Nasdaq)

Dividend yield: 1.8 per cent

5-yr. div. growth: n/a

Caution: Apple is a volatile stock that may not be suitable for risk-averse investors. That said, some analysts say the company is poised for a blowout quarter that could send the stock skyward. That's what happened after last year's holiday results beat expectations, and it could happen again given reports of strong iPhone 5 sales. Apple's cash hoard of $121-billion (U.S.) – and growing – virtually guarantees the company will raise its dividend, which it introduced at $2.65 a quarter earlier this year. There's even talk of a special dividend to beat a potential tax increase next year, but that's not a slam dunk.

The writer personally owns shares of Enbridge, Tim Hortons and Wal-Mart.

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About the Author
Investment Reporter and Columnist

John Heinzl has been writing about business and investing since 1990. A native of Hamilton, he earned a master's degree from the University of Western Ontario's Graduate School of Journalism and completed the Canadian Securities Course with honours. More

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