Monday, May 18, 2009

Eight Dividend Increases in the News

The past several months have been characterized by tremendous volatility and a lot of negative news regarding the state of the economy as a whole. Given the uncertainties in the global economy, investors are wondering whether they should cash out their portfolios and simply wait for the storm to end.

I think that this would not be a good move, especially for the dividend investor who already has a diversified portfolio of income producing stocks. Such an investor will be more focused on the dividend raises that his or her stocks deliver.

Investors focusing on every tick of the market might miss some rare investment opportunities when there is a disconnect between fundamentals and price. Don’t forget that even during a crisis people will continue to eat, shave, take showers, purchase beverages, smoke and eat out. Thus it always pays to not lose track of the big picture, even during the most challenging times for your portfolio.

Several stocks had some major dividend increases over the past week. Others didn’t deliver such exciting news but reaffirmed their payments to shareholders.

NACCO Industries, Inc. (NC), which engages in lift trucks, housewares, and mining businesses, increased its regular cash dividend from 51.5 cents to 51.75 cents per share. NACCO Industries, Inc. is a dividend achiever, which has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for 25 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 6.40%.

National Grid (NGG), which engages in the ownership and operation of regulated electricity and gas infrastructure networks, raised its final dividend to 0.23 GBP per share. ADR holders are expected to receive a dividend payment of $1.74 for the second half of 2009. National Grid is an international dividend achiever, which has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for 12 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 6.10%.

Assurant, Inc. (AIZ), which provides specialized insurance products and related services in North America and internationally, raised its quarterly dividend by 7% to $0.15 per share. Assurant, Inc has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 2004.

Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP), which brews, markets, sells, and distributes beer and other beverages, raised its quarterly dividend by 20% to $0.24 per share. This is the second consecutive dividend increase for Molson Coors Brewing Company since 2008. The stock currently yields 2.30%. The CEO of the company showed his confidence in the company’s ability to generate strong cashflows with this statement: "We are in a strong position to increase cash returns to shareholders, while preserving the financial flexibility to explore growth opportunities that meet our strict return criteria."

Portland General Electric Company (POR), which engages in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution, and retail sale of electricity in the state of Oregon, declared a 4% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.255 per share. This represents the third consecutive dividend increase for Portland General Electric Company since the company went public in 2006. The stock currently yields 5.90%.

Communications Systems, Inc. (JCS), which manufactures and sells modular connecting and wiring devices, and media and rate conversion products, announced that its Board has approved a 16.6% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.12 to $0.14 per. Communications Systems, Inc. has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 2003. The stock currently yields 6.20%.

AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (AFSI), which operates as a specialty property and casualty insurance company, raised its quarterly dividend by 20% to $0.06 per share. This represents the fourth consecutive dividend increase for AmTrust Financial Services, Inc since the company went public in 2006 The stock currently yields 2.10%.

FactSet Research Systems Inc (FDS), which provides financial and economic information, including fundamental financial data on various companies to the investment community worldwide, boosted its quarterly dividend by 11% to $0.20per share. FactSet Research Systems Inc has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 1999. The stock currently yields 1.40%.

As a dividend investor, it pays to scan the wires for news of dividend increases even in the current credit crisis. This exercise could uncover strong dividend players for further analysis and inclusion in ones portfolio.

Full Disclosure: None

Relevant Articles:

- Why do I like Dividend Achievers
- International Dividend Achievers for diversification
- The Rule of 72
- Eleven companies bucking the dividend cuts trend

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