Many investors focus their stock portfolios on dividend companies, especially those that have long histories in raising their annual dividends. Those that have raised their dividend for 25 or more consecutive years are called the Dividend Champions; 50+ consecutive years have earned them the title of Dividend Kings. A single miss or failure to raise their dividend in any given year knocks a company off each of these coveted lists.

Some examples of Champions include: Chevron (CVX), Coca-Cola (KO), McDonald’s (MCD) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The list of Kings includes Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (KO), 3M (MMM) and Loew’s (LOW).

Being included as a Champion or especially a King indicates financial stability as companies often are compelled to reduce their dividends during bear markets.