Industry bellwether AT&T (T ) is a staple for many dividend portfolios, as the company boasts a key presence in the telecom space and it has the financial firepower to back it. This well-known Dallas-based giant provides wireless and wired telecommunications services in the United States and worldwide, making it the ideal candidate for income investors who value stability; the company also holds a spot in countless portfolios, mutual funds, and ETFs, as it belongs to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Furthermore, AT&T is highly regarded among dividend investors because it has consistently increased its distribution paid out to shareholders for 25 years.
Not only is the company’s payout record impressive, so too is the size of its monstrous distribution. As such, below we highlight seven impressive facts about AT&T’s dividend:
1. AT&T Pays Out $9.69 Billion in Dividends
In 2013, AT&T paid out a total of $9.69 billion in dividends. To put this figure into perspective, it comes out to roughly $26.5 million per day or just about $307 returned to shareholders every second. AT&T isn’t the only company that’s been raising its dividend for 25 years, check out the full list of 25-year dividend increasing stocks.
2. AT&T's Payout Tops Some Countries' GDP
With an annual distribution close to $10 billion, AT&T’s dividend dwarfs a number of nations’ annual gross domestic product. This telecom-giant paid out a dividend that rivals the size of the economies of the Bahamas ($8 billion), Monaco ($6 billion), and Fiji ($4 billion).
3. AT&T’s Annualized Dividend Growth Rate is 4.5%
What’s even more impressive is that AT&T’s dividend payout has averaged an annual growth rate of 4.5% since 1994, offering up tremendous value to long-term investors looking to beef up their current income. Yield and stability are important elements of dividend investing; find out what else investors should pay attention to in 40 Things Every Dividend Investor Should Know About Dividend Investing.
4. Top Institutions Hold AT&T
Investors of all walks and styles have embraced AT&T in their portfolios thanks to the firm’s global presence and attractive dividend profile. Top institutional holders of AT&T stock include:
- Vanguard Group
- State Street
- Evercore Trust Company
- Northern Trust
AT&T’s largest individual shareholder, Randall Stephenson with about 1,051,275 individual shares, will receive cash dividends of about $1.9 million in 2014 from his holdings.
5. AT&T Offers the Highest Yield in the Dow 30
6. AT&T Paid Out Over $81 Billion in 10 Years
From 2004 to 2013, AT&T paid out a total of $81.495 billion to its shareholders. During this time period, the annual distribution increased from $1.25 per share to $1.80 per share.
7. If You Invested in 1987...
If you invested $10,000 in AT&T stock in 1987 and reinvested your dividends, your investment would be worth over $122,000 by the end of 2013. That equates to a roughly 9.7% annualized return.
Be sure to check out our Dividend Reinvestment Calculator.
The Bottom Line
Considering these impressive facts, it is no wonder why telecom giant AT&T is a must for many dividend investors. Its attractive yield, consistent payout, and impressive dividend growth make it one of the most fundamentally sound picks on the Street.