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16 Companies Increasing Dividends

Amgen, Boeing and Pfizer are among the week's payout hikers

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%.

Industrial products behemoth Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) said it will raise its quarterly dividend to shareholders by 33% to 16 cents a share. The new dividend is payable March 30 to owners of record as of March 12. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 12 closing price of $32.11, is 1.99%.

Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) has raised the rating on its quarterly dividend to 16 cents per share from 14 cents. The parent company of credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service will pay the new AAA-rated dividend March 10 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 20. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $32.88, is 1.95%.

The largest producer of structural steel products in the U.S. is Nucor (NYSE:NUE), and this week it increased the hardness of its dividend to shareholders. The company boosted its payout to 36.5 cents per share from 36.25 cents. The new dividend will be paid Feb. 10 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 30. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $38.72, is 3.77%.

Diversified industrial products maker Pentair (NYSE:PNR) added to its quarterly dividend, boosting its payout by 2 cents to 20 cents per share. The increase will be effective with the quarterly dividend payable in the first quarter of 2012. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $33.92, is 2.59%. The good dividend news came as Pentair cut its fourth-quarter profit guidance. The company cited lower-than-expected sales in Western Europe as the reason for its lowered outlook.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) lifted its quarterly dividend by 2 cents to 22 cents per share. The world’s largest drug maker said the new dividend will be payable March 6 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 3. The company also authorized a new share repurchase program for up to $10 billion. Pfizer expects to buy back about $5 billion in common stock next year. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 12 closing price of $20.39, is 4.32%.

Commercial property REIT Realty Income (NYSE:O) bumped up its monthly payout to 14.55 cents per share from 14.52 cents. The new dividend is payable on Jan. 17 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 2. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 14 closing price of $33.73, is 5.19%. This is the 57th consecutive quarterly increase and the 64th dividend increase since Realty Income went public in 1994.

Investment and fund management firm SEI Investments (NASDAQ:SEIC) declared a semi-annual dividend of 15 cents per share, a 25% increase from the previous payout of 12 cents. The dividend is payable Jan. 6 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 28. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 13 closing price of $15.77, is 1.90%. SEI also approved an increase in its stock repurchase program by an additional $100 million. Since the beginning of 2011, the company has repurchased approximately 10.5 million shares at a cost of approximately $201 million.

Multifamily REIT operator UDR (NYSE:UDR) added capital to its family of shareholders, increasing its quarterly payout to 21.50 cents per share from 20 cents. The new dividend is payable Jan. 31 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 11. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 15 closing price of $24.16, is 3.56%. The dividend represents the 157th consecutive quarterly payout made by UDR.

Asset management firm Waddell & Reed (NYSE:WDR) managed a higher payout to shareholders, increasing its dividend 25% to 25 cents per share. The new payout will be made on Feb. 1 to shareholders of record on Jan. 3. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 15 closing price of $24.66, is 4.06%.

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


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, http://investorplace.com/2011/12/companies-increasing-dividends-3/.

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