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Oneok Inc(OKE-N)
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3 Elite Dividend Stocks to Buy and Hold for Decades of Income Stability and Growth

Motley Fool - Tue Sep 19, 2023

Hundreds of companies have cut their dividends over the past several years. Many of those reductions have been very deep. That has had a big impact on their investor's income.

However, The Southern Company(NYSE: SO), Oneok(NYSE: OKE), and Public Storage(NYSE: PSA) stand out for their dividend stability. The trio have paid at least the same rate as the prior quarter for decades while increasing their payouts many times over the years. That stability and growth should continue, making them great dividend stocks to buy and hold for many years of income.

Generating steady income

For over 75 years, The Southern Company has paid a dividend equal to or greater than the prior quarter's level. Meanwhile, the utility has increased its payment in each of the last 22 straight years. It currently offers an attractive 3.9% dividend yield.

The Southern Company should have plenty of power to continue increasing its payout. The utility generates very stable cash flow backed by regulated rate structures and long-term contracts. That provides it with a steady base of cash flow to pay dividends and invest in expansion projects.

It's nearing completion of a major capital project, investing over $10 billion to build the country's first new nuclear power plant in decades. That project alone will go from consuming cash to producing about $700 million of annual cash flow for the company. Meanwhile, it has other capital projects underway and in development that should grow its cash flows in the future. These investments and rising rates should give The Southern Company the fuel to continue increasing its dividend in the future.

Adding more fuel to support its payout

Oneok has delivered more than a quarter century of dividend stability. While the pipeline giant hasn't increased its dividend every year, it has grown at a 12% compound annual rate since 2000. It currently offers a 5.7% dividend yield.

The midstream company generates very stable cash flow backed by long-term contracts and government-regulated rate structures. About 90% of its earnings come from fee-based sources. That provides a very stable cash flow base to support its dividend.

Oneok reinvests some of the cash flow it retains into expanding its midstream network. It currently has several projects under construction and in development. Those projects will increase its cash flow.

Meanwhile, the company agreed to acquire Magellan Midstream Partners in an $18.8 billion deal earlier this year. The transaction will boost its free cash flow by more than 20% annually over the 2024 to 2027 time frame. Accretive deals like that will give Oneok even more fuel to pay dividends.

Multiple growth drivers

Public Storage has made dividend payments at or above the prior quarter's rate since 1996. While the self-storage REIT hasn't increased its payout every year, it has grown its dividend by 140% over the past decade alone, including by 50% earlier this year. In addition, it has paid several special dividends over the years. The company currently yields 4.4%

The REIT generates steadily growing income. Demand for self-storage space is durable and growing. That enables the company to routinely increase its rental rates. Its same-store net operating income has grown at a 5.3% compound annual rate since 2004.

In addition, Public Storage invests money to grow its portfolio. The REIT has invested $10.7 billion since 2019 in acquisitions, development projects, and redevelopments, increasing its portfolio by 33%. It most recently acquired Simply Self Storage for $2.2 billion. These investments grow its cash flow, providing additional income to increase its dividend. The company has lots of financial flexibility to fund more growth-related investments thanks to its post-dividend free cash flow and elite balance sheet

Extremely solid dividend stocks

The Southern Company, Oneok, and Public Storage pay very durable dividends. The trio has delivered dividend stability for decades while routinely increasing their payouts, which should continue. They're excellent options for investors seeking steadily rising income.

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Matthew DiLallo has positions in Public Storage. The Motley Fool recommends Magellan Midstream Partners and ONEOK. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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