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6 Companies Increasing Dividends

Media, gold and gardening stocks top payout performers

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News Corp.

Media behemoth News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) made headlines Aug. 10 when it raised its quarterly dividend by 27% to 9.5 cents per share, two pennies above the previous quarterly payout. The new dividend yield, based on the Aug. 10 closing price of $14.21, is 1.34%. The owner of Fox TV and The Wall Street Journal made the announcement along with fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. The company said it also plans to pursue stock buybacks beyond the previously announced $5 billion repurchase plan. This announcement is welcome news for NWS shareholders, as many were wondering what the company would do with the cash freed up when it abandoned efforts to acquire the near 70% of British Sky Broadcasting PLC it doesn’t already own. The deal fell through during the hacking scandal that led to the closure of the company’s News of the World British tabloid.

Scotts Miracle-Gro

Lawn and garden products maker Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG) grew its quarterly dividend by 20%. The new payout of 30 cents per share will be made Sept. 9 to shareholders of record on Aug. 26. The new dividend yield, based on the Aug. 8 closing price of $40.41, is 2.97%. Despite the growth in Scotts’ quarterly dividend, the company’s 10% decline in fiscal Q3 revenue, and disappointing guidance going forward, caused shares to slide. SMG now trades just above its 52-week low.

SunTrust Banks

Financial services holding company SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) boosted its quarterly cash dividend by a whopping 400% to 5 cents per share. The new dividend, based on the Aug. 9 closing price of $19.98, is 1%. The company is the latest bank to increase its dividend following the Federal Reserve’s stress test results released in March. The new dividend is payable on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business Sept. 1. The move is a welcome change from the company’s August 2009 dividend cut down to just a penny per share.

At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

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