Several notable companies raised their dividends last week. Dividend raises are not only getting more frequent, but they also seem to be spreading globally as well. A dividend raise in this tough environment indicates confidence in the business and the ability to generate free chas flow. A strong cash flow also enables companies to fund future growth internally, rather than relying exclusively on the capital markets for growth. The companies which decided to share their continued growth with shareholders by rewarding them with a dividend raise include:
Vodafone (VOD), a mobile telecommunications company with operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, and the United States., raised its final dividend by 3.5% to 0.052 GBP per share. ADR holders are expected to receive a dividend payment of $0.80 for the second half of 2009 based off current forex rates. Vodafone is an international dividend achiever, which has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for over ten consecutive years. The stock currently yields 4.30%.
ACE Limited (ACE), which provides insurance and reinsurance services to commercial and individual customers worldwide, increased its regular cash dividend by 7% to 31 cents per share. ACE Limited is an international dividend achiever, which has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the last fifteen years, which it has more than doubled since 2001. The stock currently yields 2.80%.
Raven Industries, Inc. (RAVN), which manufactures various products for industrial, agricultural, construction, and military/aerospace markets in North America, increased its quarterly dividend by 8% to 14 cents per share. Raven Industries, Inc. is a dividend achiever, which has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the past thirteen years, which it has more than doubled since 2004. The stock currently yields 1.90%.
AAON, INC. (AAON), which engages in the manufacture and sale of air-conditioning and heating equipment, increased its semi-annual cash dividend by 13% to 18 cents per share. AAON, INC. has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 2006. The stock currently yields 1.70%.
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC), which provides products, services, and solutions in information and services, aerospace, electronics, and shipbuilding in the United States, increased its regular cash dividend from 40 cents to 43 cents per share. Northrop Grumman Corporation has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends for 5 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 3.60%.
Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL), which engages in the generation, purchase, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to residential, commercial, industrial, and public authorities in the United States, boosted its dividend by 3.2% to 24.50 cents per share. Xcel Energy Inc has rewarded shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 2004. The stock currently yields 5.80%.
Airgas, Inc. (ARG), which is one of the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and supplies, increased its regular cash dividend by 12.50% from 16 cents to 18 cents per share. Airgas, Inc. has rewarded its shareholders with an uninterrupted streak of increased dividends since 2004. The stock currently yields 1.70%.
Unum Group (UNM), which provides group and individual disability insurance products in the United States and the United Kingdom, raised its quarterly dividend by 10% to 8.25 cents per share. Unum Group lost its dividend achiever status in 2000 and has been unable to consistently increase dividends since then. The stock currently yields 1.80%.
AmerisourceBergen Corporation (NC), a pharmaceutical services company, which offers drug distribution and related services to healthcare providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, announced its plans to raise quarterly dividends by 20% to $0.06/share after a 2:1 stock split. AmerisourceBergen Corporation has increased dividends for 4 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 1.10%.
I also expect several dividend aristocrats such as Clorox (CLX) and Lowe’s (LOW) to raise their distributions by the end of May, marking it one of the busiest month for dividend increases.
Lowe’s (LOW) has raised its dividend every May since 2004. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 46 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 46.70%.
Clorox (CLX) has raised its dividend every May over the past 2 years. Before that the board of directors of Clorox tended to announce dividend increases in November for the preceding three years. This dividend growth stock has been raising dividends for 31 consecutive years and has a 5-year dividend growth rate of 11.20%. (analysis)
Full Disclosure: Long CLX
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