Dogs of the Dow

Dogs of the Dow theory, used as an investment strategy, was first popularized by Michael O'Higgins in his book Beating the Dow, which was published back in 1992.  The theory is based on the purchase of high dividend yield stocks that are members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

This concept is a great follow up to our article on dividend paying stocks, where we explain why certain companies pay higher dividends than others.  The term "dogs" refers to the fact these companies have somehow fallen out of favor with the investment community.

Dogs of the Dow Theory

The approach behind this investment method is simple.  The Dow Jones Industrials is a prestigious list of 30 blue chip stocks.  Sorting these stocks to find the ten companies with the highest dividend yield will produce a list of companies that are undervalued relative to their peers.  By refreshing the list each year, there is a chance that new "dogs" will be picked.  These are the stocks that stand the greatest opportunity to catch up with their peers, thereby outperforming the DJIA.

O'Higgins examined their performance by looking at the annual returns of these sets of stocks over a 17-year timeframe.  He compared the performance of a portfolio of ten stocks with that of the rest of the Industrials Index.  He found the average annual return for the Dogs of the Dow was 17.9%, compared to 11.1% for the rest of the Dow.

To summarize, in this theory we have a combination of large cap stocks, paying high dividend yields, which seem to be undervalued relative to their peers.

Choosing the Dogs of the Dow

Each year, a new portfolio of stocks is chosen, using the closing price on the last day of trading for the previous year.  Some of the stocks might remain the same; some companies will be replaced by new dogs.

Investors purchasing this portfolio are supposed to allocate 10% of their investment dollars to each stock.  This means a different number of shares for each company are bought, since their market prices will be different.

Fortunately, several mutual funds have responded to the popularity of this investment strategy, and it's possible to purchase mutual funds that follow the Dogs of the Dow Theory.

Recent Returns

In recent years, the performance of these dogs has not fared quite as well as the time period examine by O'Higgins (1973 to 1989).  For example, they've only beaten the S&P 500 Index once in the last five years.  The dogs have also been outpaced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average twice in the last five years.  Below is a table illustrating the relative performance of this group for the years 2000 through 2015.

Historical Performance

Year Dogs DJIA S&P 500
2015 -1.2% -2.2% -0.9%
2014 7.0% 7.5% 11.4%
2013 30.3% 28.1% 31.8%
2012 5.7% 7.3% 13.4%
2011 12.2% 5.5% 0.0%
2010 15.5% 11.0% 12.8%
2009 12.9% 18.8% 23.5%
2008 -41.6% -33.5% -38.5%
2007 -1.4% 6.4% 3.5%
2006 30.3% 19.1% 15.8%
2005 -5.1% 1.7% 4.9%
2004 4.4% 5.3% 10.9%
2003 28.7% 28.3% 28.7%
2002 -8.9% -15.0% -22.1%
2001 -4.9% -5.4% -11.9%
2000 6.4% -4.7% -9.2%

The above table demonstrates that 2015 was another bad year for this group.  The Dogs of the Dow were outpaced by the S&P 500 and provided returns roughly equal to the DJIA.

Dogs of the Dow Portfolios

Now that we've explained the investment theory, and provided information on relative performance, it's time to share the Dogs of the Dow for 2016.  Remember, this list is based on the closing performance for 2015.  The next group of stocks will be published after the last trading day of the year.  For reference, we've listed below the Dogs of the Dow for the last five years.

Dogs of the Dow 2016

Stock Symbol Company Name 2015 Close Dividend Yield
VZ Verizon 46.22 4.89%
CVX Chevron 89.96 4.76%
CAT Caterpillar 67.96 4.53%
IBM International Business Machines 137.62 3.78%
XOM ExxonMobil 77.95 3.75%
PFE Pfizer 32.28 3.72%
MRK Merck 52.82 3.48%
PG Procter & Gamble 79.41 3.34%
WMT Wal-Mart 61.3 3.20%
CSCO Cisco Systems 27.16 3.09%

Dogs of the Dow 2015

Stock Symbol Company Name 2014 Close Dividend Yield
T AT&T 33.59 5.48%
VZ Verizon Communications 46.78 4.70%
CVX Chevron Corporation 112.18 3.82%
MCD McDonald's Corporation 93.7 3.63%
PFE Pfizer Inc. 31.15 3.60%
GE General Electric 25.27 3.48%
MRK Merck & Company 56.79 3.17%
CAT Caterpillar Inc. 91.53 3.06%
XOM ExxonMobil Corporation 92.45 2.99%
KO The Coca-Cola Company 42.22 2.89%

Dogs of the Dow 2014

Stock Symbol Company Name 2013 Close Dividend Yield
T AT&T Inc. $35.16 5.23%
VZ Verizon Communications $49.14 4.31%
MRK Merck & Company $50.05 3.52%
INTC Intel Corporation $25.95 3.47%
PFE Pfizer Inc. $30.63 3.40%
MCD McDonald's Corporation $97.03 3.34%
CVX Chevron Corporation $124.91 3.20%
GE General Electric $28.03 3.14%
CSCO Cisco Systems $22.43 3.03%
MSFT Microsoft Corp. $37.41 2.99%

Dogs of the Dow 2013

Stock Symbol Company Name 2012 Close Dividend Yield
T AT&T Inc. $33.71 5.34%
VZ Verizon Communications $43.27 4.76%
INTC Intel Corporation $20.62 4.36%
MRK Merck & Company $40.94 4.20%
PFE Pfizer Inc. $25.08 3.83%
DD Du Pont De Nemours $44.98 3.82%
HPQ Hewlett-Packard $14.25 3.72%
GE General Electric $20.99 3.62%
MCD McDonald's Corporation $88.21 3.49%
JNJ Johnson & Johnson $70.10 3.48%

Dogs of the Dow 2012

Stock Symbol Company Name 2011 Close Dividend Yield
T AT&T Inc $29.87 5.89%
VZ Verizon Communications $39.98 5.00%
MRK Merck & Co Inc $37.90 4.43%
PFE Pfizer Inc $21.83 4.03%
GE General Electric Co. $18.23 3.73%
DD Du Pont De Nemours $46.17 3.55%
JNJ Johnson & Johnson $65.98 3.46%
INTC Intel Corp $24.40 3.44%
PG Procter and Gamble $66.67 3.15%
KFT Kraft Foods Inc $37.74 3.07%

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