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4. Quality Companies Are Not Short-Sighted

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“Survival of the fittest” isn’t just a phrase from biology. It applies to free market economies as well. Economic upheavals can create market turmoil and challenges for businesses, but quality companies, with long-term vision, are best suited to adapt, survive and thrive during the recovery.

The Strength of Money

A company’s financial strength can be demonstrated by strong balance sheets and strong consistent, predictable cash flows. Often, evidence of this financial strength takes the form of dividends.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the two time periods below at essentially the same level at which it began. Yet the index had positive returns during both periods thanks to the compounding of dividends.

The Power of Dividends

Dow Jones Industrial Average—Growth of $10,000 Investment

Dow Jones Industrial Average Growth
These charts are for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect the performance of any Franklin, Templeton, or Mutual Series fund. Source: Dow Jones and Company. Total return figures assume reinvestment of dividends. Indexes are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 

Dividend Strength Has Historically Tied to Strong Performance

Historically, companies that have initiated or grown dividends have outperformed companies that have cut dividends. Quality dividend payers—those paying consistent and rising dividends historically—have offered better overall results.

Average Annual Total Returns of S&P 500 Stocks by Dividend PolicyJanuary 31, 1972 to December 31, 2009

S&P 500 Stocks-Avg Annual Returns
Source: ©2009 Ned Davis research, Inc. Indexes are unmanaged, and one cannot invest directly in an index. Dividend-Paying Stocks represents the dividend-paying stocks of the S&P 500, based on rolling 12-month dividend policy. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Decade Ahead

While financial strength may help a company weather volatile markets, perhaps more importantly it may position a company for competitive gains. Why? As weaker companies pull back or fold during difficult periods, stronger competitors survive to meet the market demand when markets improve.

The Bottom Line

  • High-quality companies often survive market downturns and can potentially become stronger and more efficient as a result.
  • Dividends can be an indication of a company’s financial strength. Over time, compounding dividends have had a significant impact on cumulative returns, even in sideways markets.
  • Speak to a financial advisor regarding an effective way to invest in quality companies.


Another reason to be an equity investor: Equities Help Protect Purchasing Power


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