Stock Quotes in this Article: AWR, DBD

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet’s guest contributor program, which is separate from the company’s news coverage. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

SAN FRANCISCO (Stockerblog) -- What better indication of corporate strength is there than long-term increasing dividends? There are actually about a hundred publicly traded companies with a track record of increasing dividends for 25 years or more. But when looking back beyond 55 years, only two make the cut -- and both have yields in excess of 3.2%.


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    The first company, Diebold (DBD), which has increased dividends for 58 years in a row, is in the fast-growing business of integrated self-service delivery and security systems. Diebold makes everything from automated teller machines to safes to digital surveillance to biometric technologies. The stock trades at 13.6 time forward earnings and pays a decent yield of 3.6%.

    Earnings were down significantly for the latest quarter year-over-year on a 1% drop in revenue, primarily due to higher taxes and losses in Europe. Diebold's president and chief executive officer, Thomas W. Swidarski, said:

    “As expected, we got off to a slow start in the first quarter. The results we’re reporting today slightly exceeded our internal expectations for the first quarter, despite heavy losses in Europe and a higher tax rate. We previously communicated we expect an unusually strong second half of 2011, and our outlook remains the same.”

    The total dividend payout for Diebold is $73.1 million, which is well-covered by the operating cash flow of $239.4 million. The dividend payout rate was raised in February from 27 cents a share to 28 cents share, an increase of 3.7%.

    The other long-term dividend increaser is American States Water (AWR), which has boosted its dividend 57 years in a row. This stock, which is one of the companies on the 's high-yield water utility stocks list, trades at 15.6 times forward earnings and yields 3.3%.

    The total dividend payout is $20.9 million, easily covered by $54.7 million in operating cash flow. Earnings for the latest quarter were down 10.6% on a 6.6% increase in revenue.

    If you like high-yield stocks, there are plenty of top-yielding stock lists at

    At the time of writing, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

    Fred Fuld III, the publisher of stock and bond investing blog Stockerblog and founder of WallStreetNewsNetwork, has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years, working as an investment advisor, options market maker at the Pacific Stock Exchange, vice president of a San Francisco money management firm, university faculty member and wholesaler for the New Alternatives Fund (the first environmentally conscious mutual fund). He is the author of the books
    Investing in Brazil Stocks and The Green Light on Green Stocks.