Are future dividends the primary value backing that a stock price will rise? (Let's assume that purchase by a competitor is an unlikely event and discount the value this might have).
It seems to me that many stocks are worth astonishingly many times more than their dividends pay, or are likely or even pay. In fact, many companies pay no dividends, and we have no expectation that that they will start paying dividends any time soon. Why buy those stocks?
If your expectation is that their value will go up, it must be because someone else will be will to pay more for it later. However let's imagine even if a company becomes phenomenally profitable, dominates over its competition to an extent that it cannot be acquired, and has lots of cash in the bank, if the company pays no dividends (let's assume its legally bound not to pay dividends for some reason, or has never paid dividends in the past or we have little reason to expect it will pay dividends in the future), where is the value in that stock to a future individual investor?