Monday, October 13, 2008

8 Dividend Stocks raising their payments in this tough market

Last week was characterized by massive sell offs by investors, which fear that the worst is definitely going to happen. Despite the fact that the bailout plan was approved by congress, that didn’t improve investors’ sentiments. The US stock markets had the worst week ever. The 50% dividend cut from Bank of America (BAC) on Monday, which fellow blogger David Templeton reported on didn’t help either. There were rumors floating around that GE might have to cut its dividends as well, which the company strongly denied. So far in 2008 the stock market has erased nearly all the bull market gains from 2003-2007 as many indices around the world fell to levels not seen since the dot com crisis. Asides from dividend cuts in financials however, dividend investors did pretty well as many companies outside of the financial sector continued raising their distributions to shareholders.

Last week there were several companies which announced increases in their annual dividend payments to shareholders:

United Technologies Corp. (UTX) announced a 20.3 percent quarterly dividend increase to 38.5 cents per common share. CEO Louis Chenevert said, "In today's tough economic environment, UTC's balanced portfolio, global footprint, and seasoned executive team continue to deliver solid results. This dividend increase, consistent with our pattern over many years, reflects our confidence in sustained earnings growth. UTC's liquidity and free cash flow remain strong."
UTX has been increasing its dividends for the past 14 consecutive years. Annual dividend payments have increased over the past 10 years by an average of 14.20% annually, which is the same as the growth in EPS. This dividend achiever currently yields 3.20% based off its new dividend rate. I think that this company is a steal at this moment. I will be looking to add to my position there.

TEPPCO Partners, L.P. (TPP) declared a third quarter cash distribution of $0.725 per unit. I analyzed this partnership several months ago and liked what I saw. The stock has lost a little less than 50% since then. Annual dividend distributions have increased over the past 10 years by an average of 5.90% annually, which is slightly above the growth in EPS. The partnership managed to increase its distributions to unit holders for a second time in 2008. This dividend achiever currently yields 13.60%.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (KMP) announced it expects to increase its quarterly cash distribution per common unit next week to $1.02 ($4.08 annualized) from $0.99 ($3.96 annualized). This will represent an increase of 16 percent over the third quarter 2007 quarterly distribution of $0.88 ($3.52 annualized). KMP is another partnership that I like. You could purchase either KMP or KMR, which is the management company that owns and operates KMP. KMR distributes additional shares to unit holders as opposed to dividends. Both KMR and KMP currently yield between 9.00% and 9.80%.

RPM International Inc. (RPM) declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share. This payment represents a 5.3% increase over the $0.19 quarterly cash dividend paid at this time last year. This high-yield aristocrat currently yields 5.70%. I would have added to RPM but unfortunately the current dividend exceeds the company’s average 10 year earnings per share. In addition to that the P/E ratio is about 36 right now.

Teekay Corporation (TK) has approved a 15% increase in the Company's quarterly cash dividend from $0.275 to $0.31625 per common share, This international dividend achiever has almost tripled its quarterly payment to shareholders since 2003. In addition to that the company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of $200 million of its common stock. This amount represents approximately 14 percent of the Company's total market capitalization as of October 6, 2008. This dividend stock currently yields 6.2%.

Acme United Corporation (ACU) declared a cash dividend of 5 cents per share on its outstanding common stock which represents an increase of 25%. The company follows an interesting pattern of increasing its dividends every 6 quarters, which it has followed since 2004. This stock currently yields 2.10%.

Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (APOG) announced that its Board has approved a 10% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.074 to $0.0815 per common share. This designer and developer of glass products, services, and systems has increased its dividends for over 20 years by an average of 7.2% per annum. This company yields 2.90% at the moment.

Triangle Capital Corporation (TCAP) declared a cash dividend of $0.38 per share. The new payment represents a 40.7% increase over the dividend paid this time last year. This is the Company's seventh consecutive quarterly dividend since its initial public offering in February, 2007. Triangle Capital Corporation is a public investment firm specializing in buyouts, change of control transactions, acquisitions, growth financing, and recapitalizations in lower middle market companies. This stock currently yields 14.80%.

Full Disclosure: I am long RPM, KMR, TPP, UTX

Relevant Articles:

- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) Dividend Analysis.
- TEPPCO Partners (TPP) Dividend Analysis
- RPM Dividend Analysis
- Why do I like Dividend Achievers

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