Tuesday, June 1, 2010

H.J.Heinz and Lowe’s reward shareholders with higher dividends

Few companies can afford to consistently boost dividends. The ones that can do it are characterized by strong competitive advantages and are widely recognized brand names. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for the quality of the goods or services which those companies provide, which drives sales and profitability for the corporations. The companies raising distributions last week included Lowe’s Companies (LOW) as well as Heinz (HNZ).

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW) , together with its subsidiaries, operates as a home improvement retailer in the United States and Canada. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 22% from $0.09 to $0.11 cents/share. This dividend aristocrat has raised dividends for 49 consecutive years. The stock yields 1.70%.

H. J. Heinz Company (HNZ) manufactures and markets food products for consumers, foodservice, and institutional customers. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 75 to 45 cents/share. This dividend stock has consistently raised distributions since 2004. The H. J. Heinz Company had been a member of the S&P dividend aristocrats index between 1990 and 2002, before it cut its distributions in 2003. The stock yields 4.10%.

SEI Investments Company provides investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions to corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and high-net-worth families. SEI Investments (SEIC) announced a 10% increase in its semi-annual dividend from $0.09 to $0.10 per share. The company has raised dividends for 19 consecutive years. This dividend achiever yields 0.95%.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH) provides healthcare services in the United States. The company sharply raised its annual dividend from 3 cents to 50 cents/share and switched to paying distributions every quarter. The stock yields 1.70%.

Deere & Company (DE) provides products and services primarily for agriculture and forestry worldwide. The company raised quarterly distributions by 7% to 30 cents/share. While this was the first quarterly increase since 2008, the company’s annual dividend has consistently increased since 2004. The stock yields 2.10%.

McKesson Corporation (MCK) offers medicines, pharmaceutical supplies, and information and care management products and services for the healthcare industry. The company increased the quarterly dividend by 50% to 18 cents/share. The stock yields 1%.

The Cato Corporation (CATO) operates as a fashion specialty retailer for fashion and value conscious females principally in the southeastern United States. The company raised its quarterly distribution by 12% to 18.50 cents/share. This was the first dividend increase since 2007. The stock yields 3.10%.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) operates as a specialty retailer of home products. The company raised its quarterly dividend to 15 cents/share. This was the second dividend increase this year. The company last raised distributions in 2008 before that. The stock yields 2%.

Quanex Building Products Corporation (NX) provides engineered products and aluminum sheet products. The company’s Board of Directors authorized 33.33% increase in its quarterly dividend to 4 cents/share. The stock yields 0.90%.

Full Disclosure: None

Relevant Articles:

- Why Dividend Growth Stocks Rock?
- How to Uncover Hidden Dividend Gems
- Are Dividend Investors Stock Pickers?
- A record 22 companies boost dividend payouts

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