5 Companies Increasing Dividends

by Jim Woods | September 30, 2011 11:34 am

It was yet another bout of huge volatility on Wall Street as stocks oscillated between über-bullish and über-bearish throughout the trading week. Hopes and fears over a European bailout deal fueled much of the back and forth among traders, as the yet-to-be-resolved issue remains a big overhang for the markets. The volatile week marks the end of a dismal third quarter that saw stocks suffer one of the worst three-month performances since the 2008 financial crisis began.

As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off more than 10% in Q3 while the S&P 500 was down more than 12%. Yet despite the shaky market environment, we continue to see a steady stream of companies increasing dividends. Here are five high-profile companies doing just that this week.

Accenture

Consulting firm Accenture (NYSE:ACN[1]) consulted with its board of directors and decided to raise its semi-annual cash dividend by 50% to 67.5 cents per share on its Class I common shares. The new payout will be made on Nov. 15 to shareholders of record on Oct. 11. The new dividend yield, based on the Sept. 27 closing price of $53.65 (the day Accenture announced the dividend), is 2.52%. In addition to the dividend increase, Accenture’s board approved a new $5 billion repurchase authorization, which brings its total buyback authority to $6 billion. Along with the increased payout and buyback plan, the company reported fiscal Q4 results that easily bested expectations. Accenture also increased its full-year growth and revenue forecasts.

Atlantic Tele-Network

Telecom firm Atlantic Tele-Network (NASDAQ:ATNI[2]) — which provides telecommunications services to rural and niche markets in the United States, Bermuda and the Caribbean — rang up a penny-sized dividend increase, upping its quarterly payout to 23 cents per share. The new dividend is payable Oct. 14 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 7. The new dividend yield, based on the Sept. 29 closing stock price of $33.69, is 2.73%. The move represents the 13th consecutive annual increase in the company’s dividend.

CH Energy Group

Regional gas and electric producer CH Energy Group (NYSE:CHG[3]) turned up the power on its quarterly dividend to 55.5 cents per share from 54 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the Sept. 26 closing price of $52.96, is 4.19%. Over the past year, CH Energy has moved to divest its holding in so-called renewable “green” energies to concentrate on traditional energy delivery. The company said it has used the majority of the proceeds from these divestitures to repurchase approximately 6% of their outstanding shares.

Clarcor Inc.

Environmental filtration and industrial packaging firm Clarcor Inc. (NYSE:CLC[4]) repackaged its quarterly dividend, increasing its payout by 14%, to 12 cents per share from 10.5 cents. The new dividend is payable Oct. 21 to shareholders of record on Oct. 11. The new dividend yield, based on the Sept. 29 closing price of $42.31, is 1.13%. The increased dividend represents the 29th consecutive year that Clarcor has raised its annual payout to shareholders.

Comtech Telecommunications

High-tech communications equipment firm Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ:CMTL[5]) dialed in a clear channel on its dividend transmission to shareholders, raising its annual targeted dividend by 10%, to $1.10 per share from $1 per share. The next quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share is payable Nov. 22 to shareholders of record on Oct. 21. The dividend yield, based on the Sept. 27 closing price of $27.87, is 3.95%. The company also said that through Sept. 23 it has repurchased 1,511,526 shares of its common stock in open-market transactions for an aggregate cost of $42 million, with an average price per share of $27.80.

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

Endnotes:
  1. ACN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=ACN
  2. ATNI: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=ATNI
  3. CHG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CHG
  4. CLC: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CLC
  5. CMTL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CMTL

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