Dividend stocks are popular for providing investors with a steady income flow. Furthermore, as dividends are paid out of profits and retained earnings, a dividend-paying company is usually stable and has strong earnings growth potential. Thus, adding a dividend stock into one's portfolio enhances overall returns in the long run and adds a much-needed safety net amid wild market swings.

Take Coca-Cola or Procter & Gamble stock as an example. Both of these companies have consistently paid dividends for a very long period and uninterruptedly increased it for more than 50 years. That means their shareholders were paid even during the down years.

Like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, several stocks have consistently hiked their dividends. This is important, as a growing dividend reduces the payback period of the initial investment.

Top Dividend Stocks

Using the TipRanks Dividend Calendar, this article zeroes in on five Strong Buy stocks with an ex-dividend date in July 2021. An ex-dividend date implies that investors must own the stock by that date to be eligible for receiving the next dividend payout. The article also focuses on stocks that have consistently grown dividends for a considerable amount of time and have a sustainable payout ratio.

IDEX Corporation (IEX)
Dividend yield: 0.93%
Ex-dividend date: July 14, 2021
Payout ratio: 40.01%
Payout date: July 30, 2021

IDEX Corporation is a diversified engineering product manufacturer. IDEX has paid a regular dividend for 106 consecutive quarters and raised its dividend from $1.07 a share in 2014 to $2.0 per share in 2020. Moreover, it recently announced an 8% hike in annual dividends to $2.16 per share. IDEX stock has a Strong Buy analyst rating consensus, and the average price target indicates about 9% upside potential to current levels. Furthermore, the stock has positive indicators from financial bloggers. Moreover, hedge funds increased their holdings by 93.7K shares in the last quarter. However, insiders have been reducing their exposure to IEX. The stock has a ‘Neutral’ Smart Score of 7.

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Abbott Labs (ABT)
Dividend yield: 1.43%
Ex-dividend date: July 14, 2021
Payout ratio: 50.66%
Payout date: Aug. 16, 2021

Medical devices and healthcare leader Abbott Labs has paid dividends since 1924. Furthermore, it raised its dividend for 49 years in a row and is a part of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index. In Dec. 2020, Abbott announced a 25% hike to its annual dividend, reflecting the strength of its “diversified business” and its “ability to invest in future growth while returning immediate value to shareholders.” Abbott stock has a Strong Buy analyst rating consensus. Furthermore, the stock has positive indicators from financial bloggers and individual investors. Moreover, hedge fund managers increased their holdings by 484.5K shares in the last quarter. While insiders sold the stock, Abbott has an ‘Outperform’ Smart Score of 8.

EOG Resources (EOG)
Dividend yield: 3.12%
Ex-dividend date: July 15, 2021
Payout ratio: NA
Payout date: July 30, 2021

EOG Resources is involved in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. It has been paying and growing its dividend since 1999. Earlier this year, EOG hiked its annual dividend by 10%. The average analyst price target of $98.84 indicates approximately 19% upside potential. While financial bloggers and investors have positive outlooks on EOG stock, hedge fund managers reduced their holdings by 88.3K shares in the last three months. Nevertheless, the stock has Strong Buy analyst rating consensus and an ‘Outperform’ Smart Score of a "Perfect 10."

Lowe’s Companies (LOW)
Dividend yield: 1.33%
Ex-dividend date: July 20, 2021
Payout ratio: 25.57%
Payout date: Aug. 4, 2021

Home improvement company Lowe’s Companies has paid a regular dividend since 1961 and raised it for 25 consecutive years. Thanks to its strong cash flow generation, Lowe's recently announced a 33% hike in its dividend. Lowe’s stock has a Strong Buy analyst rating consensus, and the average price target of $231.38 indicates over 18% upside potential to current levels. Furthermore, the stock has positive indicators from individual investors and financial bloggers. However, hedge fund managers lowered their holdings by 674.2K shares in the last quarter. Lowe’s stock has an ‘Outperform’ Smart Score of 9.

NiSource Inc (NI)
Dividend yield: 3.44%
Ex-dividend date: July 29, 2021
Payout ratio: NA
Payout date: Aug. 20, 2021

NiSource operates a rate-regulated utility business. Earlier this year, the company announced a 5% increase in its annual dividends to $0.88 a share. NiSource’s CEO, Joe Hamrock, said, “An increasing dividend is a key part of our overall value proposition. At the same time, we’re balancing this increase with our need to fund significant near-term investment opportunities while continuing to target a 60 to 70 percent payout ratio.” NiSource stock has a Strong Buy analyst rating consensus, and the average price target indicates over 13% upside potential to current levels. Furthermore, the stock has positive indicators from individual investors, financial bloggers, and hedge fund managers. NiSource stock has an ‘Outperform’ Smart Score of 9.

Besides these top five Strong Buy stocks, see which other stocks have an ex-dividend date in July 2021.

Disclaimer: The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.