7 Stocks Raising Dividends – PG, JNJ, SO, RLRN, SXT, STM, SON

It’s been a busy week for dividend increases. Blue chip stocks like personal products giant Procter and Gamble (PG), health care stock Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) and utility Southern Company (SO) all raised dividends. Small cap stocks also got in on the action of raises to dividend yields, including computer assessment technology provider Renaissance Learning (RLRN), chemical company Sensient Technologies (SXT), semiconductor stock STMicroelectronics (STM) and packaging giant Sonoco (SON). Here are the details:

Procter and Gamble PG Dividend Increase

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) announced on Monday, April 19, that its board of directors had declared an increase in the stock’s quarterly dividend from 44 cents a share to 48.18 cents. The dividend increase will take affect on the next payout, with the dividend payable on or after May 17 to shareholders of record April 30.

Procter and Gamble is a leading consumer brand and makes popular products including Crest toothpaste, Pringles potato chips and Pampers diapers. PG’s dividend increase represents a 9.5% boost over the previous dividend. PG stock has paid a dividend for 120 consecutive years since its incorporation in 1890. This marks the 54th consecutive year that Procter and Gamble has increased the dividend.

Johnson and Johnson JNJ Dividend Increase

On Thursday, April 22, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced a 10.2% increase in the quarterly dividend rate, from 49 cents per share to 54 cents. At the new rate, the annual dividend is $2.16 per share compared to the previous rate of $1.96 per share. The next quarterly dividend is payable on June 15  to shareholders of record as of June 1.

Johnson & Johnson is a leading health care stock, and the move boosted its quarterly dividend for the 48th consecutive year. The increase means the company is one of the top 10 high yield dividend stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with a dividend yield of over 3%.

Southern Company SO Dividend Increase

On Monday, April 19, Southern Company (SO) raised its dividend for the ninth straight year to an annual rate of $1.82 per share. The increase was 7 cents per share on an annual basis or 1.75 cents a quarter, boosting the dividend yield of SO stock to over 5%.

Southern Company is the utility behind Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power. It’s dividend totals 45.5 cents on a quarterly basis, and the upcoming payout will mark 250 consecutive quarters – dating back to 1948 – that SO stock will have paid a dividend to its shareholders.

Sensient Technologies SXT Dividend Increase

Sensient Technologies (SXT) is a small cap chemicals stock that focuses on color, scent and flavor additives for products that range from food to cosmetics to commercial inks.  The company announced Thursday, April 22, that it will raise its quarterly dividend by 1 cent, or 5.3%, to 20 cents a share. The dividend will be paid June 1 to shareholders as of May 6.

Though not a big company, Sensient is growing strong. SXT stock executives announced this week that the company will spend $16 million for a new building in St. Louis that will allow the company to expand production of natural colors.

Sonoco SON Dividend Increase

On Wednesday, April 21, small cap stock Sonoco (SON) announced it was increasing its cash dividend for the 28th straight year. Specifically, Sonoco declared a 28 cent per share quarterly common stock dividend, an increase of a penny over the previous quarterly dividend.

SON is a leading packaging provider for industrial and commercial customers.  SON stock has offered shareholders dividends for 340 consecutive quarters, dating back to 1925. Sonoco’s new annualized dividend will increase from $1.08 to $1.12 per share.

Renaissance Learning RLRN Dividend Increase

Renaissance Learning (RLRN), a leading provider of educational aids, announced Wednesday, April 21, that it  will raise its quarterly dividend by 14%, to 8 cents a share from 7 cents. The dividend is payable June 1 to holders of record as of May 7.

Wisconsin-based RLRN stock has been on a tear in 2010, up about 38% year-to-date. That’s about three times better than the broader market. Wisconsin-based Renaissance Learning  is a leading provider of computer-based assessment technology for schools, as well as a provider of software to personalize reading, writing, and math lessons.

STMicroelectronics STM Dividend Increase

Swiss-based STMicroelectronics (STM), a leading semiconductor company in the tech sector, announced Monday, April 19, that it will offer a 28 cent per share dividend. This is more than double the current 12 cent dividend.

STMicroelectronics said the dividend will mean STM stock now offers a 2.7% annualized dividend yield. The semiconductor company primarily produces gear for microelectronic applications in various industries including the auto sector, personal electronics and telecommunications.

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