The S&P 500 has gained 8.6% from its intraday low of 2083.79 on Nov. 4, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is within spitting distance of 20,000. So how should investors prepare their portfolios for 2017 and beyond?
Despite the bullish market environment, there are still high-quality dividend growth stocks available at fair or better prices. Today we'll look at my 10 favorite dividend stocks that investors should consider holding over the next several years.
Many of these stocks are dividend aristocrats. This is an elite group of just 50 stocks that each have 25-plus years of consecutive annual dividend increases. You can see the full list of dividend aristocrats here.
Keep reading this article to see the top 10 best dividend stocks to buy now for 2017.
10. Flowers Foods (FLO)
Flowers Foods has seen its price increase 22% in the last month, but even so, it's a great investment for the new year.
Flowers Foods share price plunged back in August. The company was facing potentially serious litigation. Specifically, some of the company's contract drivers claimed they should have been classified as employees. Litigation fear caused the stock price to plunge from more than $17 to less than $15. As is often the case, the market overreacted.
Flowers Foods settled the litigation by making tweaks to its contractor agreement for $9 million. This is peanuts for a company that has generated more than $180 million in net income in the last 12 months.
Flowers Foods is extremely stable. The company has paid steady or increasing dividends for 29 consecutive years. It has increased its dividend each year for the past 10 years, which makes it a dividend achiever. You can see all 273 dividend achievers here.
In addition, Flowers Foods has a 3.3% dividend yield. The company's yield should appeal to investors looking for stable, growing, above-average dividends.
Flowers Foods is the second largest bakery in the U.S. The company operates in a slow-changing industry.
Flowers Foods was founded in 1919. Despite being an established business, Flowers Foods is still exhibiting solid growth over full economic cycles. The company has compounded its earnings per share at 12.2% a year over the last decade.
Flowers Foods growth comes from slowly expanding its geographic presence across the U.S., and from efficiency gains. The company is currently focusing on increasing margins by reducing costs through its "Project Centennial." This bodes well for investors going into 2017.