Despite the equity market’s omnipresent volatility, the dividend parade keeps rolling down Wall Street. This week brought another bevy of big names boosting their quarterly payouts, and the news gave shareholders a little early holiday cheer.
In a good sign for the market at large, this week’s list of payout performers reads like a Who’s Who of the most prominent firms in their respective sectors. Pharmaceutical, aerospace, financial and industrial giants all stuffed shareholder stockings, making this another stellar week for income investors. Here are 16 companies increasing dividends this week.
Farm products and potash maker Agrium (NYSE:AGU) quadrupled its dividend, fertilizing the payout on common stock to 22.5 cents per share on a semi-annual basis. The new dividend will be paid Jan. 19 to shareholders of record on Jan. 1. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $64.49 (the day the dividend was announced), is 0.70%. Agrium also announced plans to spend about $1.5 billion to increase its potash production capacity by 50%, as it looks to increase profits from the continued strength in crop prices.
Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is the world’s largest biotech firm, and this week it engineered a 29% rise in its quarterly dividend. The company, which began paying a dividend just last year, announced a payout of 36 cents a share. The new dividend will be paid March 7 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 15 closing price of $58.62, is 2.46%. Amgen recently bought back nearly 10% of its outstanding shares. The company also said long time Chairman and CEO Kevin Sharer will retire on May 23, but stay on as chairman until the end of 2012.
Aerospace giant and defense contractor Boeing (NYSE:BA) sent its dividend into flight, lifting its quarterly payout 5% to 44 cents per share from 42 cents. The heightened payout will be made on March 2 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 10. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 12 closing price of $70.90, is 2.48%. Boeing continues to receive new orders for its premier 777 wide-body aircraft, and this year it’s extended its annual sales to 200 units.
Real estate investment trust Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP) boosted its quarterly payout by 10% to 55 cents per share. The new payout will be made Jan. 27 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $93.65, is 2.35%. Boston Properties develops and manages offices, hotel, residential and retail properties in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Princeton, N.J. and its namesake city, Boston.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) charged up its quarterly dividend, boosting its payout by 67% to 10 cents per share from 6 cents. The new dividend is payable Jan. 19 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 29. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 15 closing price of $23.07, is 1.73%. The credit card issuer said heavy holiday shopping helped its fiscal fourth quarter profit surge 46% year over year.
Money management firm Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) declared a special cash dividend of $2 a share. It also raised its quarterly dividend by 8% to 27 cents per share. Both the special dividend and the boosted payout are payable on Dec. 30 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 19. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 12 closing price of $96.91, is 1.11%. The company recently posted a 12% surge in fiscal Q4 profits.
The biggest lodging property REIT in the U.S. is Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HST), and this week it upped the room rate it pays shareholders to 5 cents per share from the previous 1 cent per share payout. The new dividend is payable on Jan. 17 to shareholders of record on Dec. 30. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $13.71, is 1.46%.