Dividend stocks have been smoking hot for most of the past year, and the favorable fortunes of many companies in the segment have led to many firms lighting up their quarterly dividend payouts. Last week, tobacco giant Altria Group (MO) was atop the pack of companies increasing dividends, as it upped the fiscal nicotine on its dividend by 8.3% to 52 cents per share from 48 cents.
The enhanced Altria dividend is payable on Oct. 10 to shareholders of record as of September 15. The cigarette maker’s shares will go ex-dividend on Sept. 11. The company’s new annual dividend is $2.08 per common share, which represents a yield of 4.9% based on the Aug. 20 close.
In addition to Altria, there were eight other dividend stocks increasing payouts over the past couple of weeks, including casual dining chain Brinker International (EAT), and energy infrastructure firm Williams Cos. (WMB). Let’s take a closer look at each of the companies increasing dividends:
Gasoline engine and power equipment maker Briggs & Stratton Corp (BGG) increased the horsepower on its quarterly dividend payment by 4.2% to 12.5 cents per share form 12 cents. The new dividend will be paid on Oct. 1 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 17. The stock will go ex-dividend on Sept. 15.
BGG Dividend Yield: 2.38%
Casual dining restaurant operator Brinker International (EAT), known for the Chili’s and Maggiano’s chains, altered its dividend menu to reflect a 17% increase in its quarterly payout. The new dividend of 28 cents per share vs. the prior 24 cents is payable on Sept. 25 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 5. The stock will go ex-dividend on Sept. 3. Brinker also reported it has authorized an additional $350 million in share repurchases.
EAT Dividend Yield: 2.27%
G&K Services (GK) makes uniforms and provides services in industrial facilities, and last week it facilitated a 15% increase in the quarterly dividend to 31 cents per share from 27 cents. The dressed-up dividend payment will be made on Sept. 26 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 11. GK shares go ex-dividend on Sept. 9.
GK Dividend Yield: 1.96%
Electric utility and transmission firm ITC Holdings (ITC) dialed up the amperage to shareholders with a 14% increase in its quarterly dividend. The new payment of 16.25 cents per share from 14.25 cents will be sent on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 2. The stock will go ex-dividend on Aug. 28.
ITC Dividend Yield: 1.74%
Canadian financial services giant Royal Bank of Canada (RY) moved to make its shareholders smile with a 5.6% increase to its quarterly dividend to 75 cents per share from 71. The new payment will be sent out on Nov. 24 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 27. Shares go ex-dividend on Oct. 23.
RY Dividend Yield: 3.8%
Funeral and death services provider Service Corp. International (SCI) opened the fiscal casket on its quarterly dividend, raising its payment 12.5% to 9 cents per share from 8 cents. The re-animated dividend is slated for payment on Sept. 30 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 15. The stock will go ex-dividend on Sept. 11.
SCI Dividend Yield: 1.64%
Energy infrastructure behemoth Williams Cos. (WMB) really put the fire under its quarterly dividend, increasing the power of its payment by 31.8% to 56 cents per share from 42.5 cents. The boosted dividend will be sent out on Sept. 29 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 12. Williams’ shares will go ex-dividend on Sept. 10.
WMB Dividend Yield: 3.83%
As of this writing, Jim Woods was long MO.