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The Smart Way To Invest In Stock

Jan 3, 2008
Those of a most conservative temperament find greatest contentment in fixed income securities designed to protect principal value. Such persons will stick pretty closely to savings accounts, bonds, or preferred stock. For those of more flexible temperament, willing to accept in good grace the wider fluctuations in market value characteristic of common stocks, but still primarily interested in income, there are some well-tested issues to choose from. These are the common stocks of substantial companies, widely held by institutions which have paid dividends for many years.

They represent ownership in companies that play an important part in your daily life. Many of them are in the consumer industries which provide the products and services most essential to individuals and families. They are producers and distributors of foods, tobacco, home furnishings and appliances, oil for heating and motoring, and providers of such vital services as banking and telephone, electric and gas utilities.

Because these services and products are so essential to our way of life, the companies providing them have been able to earn money and pay uninterrupted dividends for many years. And this of course is the major test of an "income" stock: are its dividends dependable? To assist you in selection of stocks meeting this requirement, here is a list of representative companies.

Stocks with Durable Dividends

Stocks Dividends Since
Adams Express 1892
Aetna Insurance 1883
American Electric Power 1909
American Telephone 1881
American Tobacco 1905
Borden 1899
Chase Manhattan Bank 1848
Coca-Cola 1893
Du Pont 1904
Colgate-Palmolive 1895
General Electric 1899
General Mills 1898
Otis Elevator 1903
Procter and Gamble 1891
Texaco 1903

This list was selected quite at random and these are in no sense specific recommendations. You must admit that it's a fine list of companies, and if you never bought any stock other than these, no one would criticize your investment judgment. The list is offered, however, primarily to give you guidance on selection geared to sustained income. These companies have not only paid dividends dependably but there have been increases over the years and, in most if not all cases, cash extras and stock dividends as well.

In selecting stocks for dependable income, it is obvious you will be choosing from quality issues since younger, less tested companies simply haven't been around long enough to establish an extended record for dividend payment. Any reliable broker will gladly supply you with the dividend record of the company that interests you; and there are dozens of fine issues in addition to the ones cited which should serve you well.

Income-type stocks are especially desirable for those in middle and later life seeking to pin down a dependable supplementary income for retirement years, and to whom stabilized income at a comfortable level is more important than growth in market values.
The companies whose shares are prized for income usually pay out, in the average year, somewhere between 65% and 75% of net earnings in cash dividends, and a regular rate once established is unlikely to be reduced because of poor results in a single year. In such cases, the dividend is maintained and paid if necessary out of surplus from earlier years.

One word of caution. Don't "reach" for dividend income. Often the highest yields are dangerous, and historically many shares showed their highest yields just before their dividends were either reduced or omitted. In your own search for income stocks, you will find some of the highest yields among railroad companies and in the "extraction" industries copper, lead, zinc, etc.

In the foregoing you have been given some background for the selection of income stocks.

Buying common stocks for income is a sound idea. Do your own research, consult with a responsible broker and you should expand your income and add zest to your life.
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