Despite the usual summer slowdown, dividend growth among U.S. companies is on pace for another banner year. Over the year ended June 2014, buyback and dividend expenditures combined reached a new record high of $865.9 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Although 61.6% of that $865.9 billion has been in the form of share repurchases, dividend growth remains sturdy and there is a good chance that some of that growth has come courtesy of the stocks that reside in the ProShares S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NYSEArca: NOBL).
NOBL tracks the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, which only includes companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. In other words, a company that fails to boost its payout will eventually be excluded from NOBL. [A Noble Dividend ETF]
NOBL is still a few weeks shy of its first anniversary, but the ETF’s rookie status and entry into the increasingly saturated market for dividend ETFs have not prevented it from becoming a quick success. With almost $221.1 million in assets under management at the end of the second quarter, it is apparent NOBL is one of the most successful ETFs to debut last year. Third-quarter inflows of $18.4 million cement NOBL’s growth trajectory. [New Dividend ETFs With Staying Power]
What makes NOBL an alluring option among dividend ETFs is that even though the ETF is home to plenty of mature, old line companies, as evidenced by the 25-year dividend increase streak requirement, the ETF sports a yield of less than 2%.
While that may not sound intoxicating in a low interest rate environment, it is worth noting that high yields can sometimes be a sign of company being strained by its dividend. Additionally, the relatively low yield on NOBL implies ample room for dividend growth, the very reason to consider the ETF, going forward.