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14 Companies That Just Increased Their Dividend

The refrain of “wild volatility” is becoming a virtual cliché on Wall Street these days, as traders continue their mood swings from bull to bear with seemingly every peep out of Europe. That was the case again this week, as stocks crumbled on Tuesday after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou threatened to hold a referendum on the European bailout package. Stocks surged on Wednesday and Thursday, as it became clear that the referendum had been shelved. The political posturing on how to fund the European bailout now has taken center stage, and that could put the fate of the deal in limbo. Until the issue is settled, look for more volatility ahead.

Amidst this opaque European backdrop, companies continue to return profits to shareholders. This week, gaming giant Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) declared a $5 special dividend. The company, led by outspoken billionaire CEO Steve Wynn, said the special dividend will be paid Dec. 21 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 23. Of course, Wynn wasn’t the only high-profile firm pumping up payouts. Here are 13 more companies increasing dividends this week:

Retailer Aaron’s (NYSE:AAN), which specializes in sales and leasing of electronics, appliances and furniture, rearranged the chairs on its dividend, boosting its payout to 15.4% to 1.5 cents a share. The new dividend is payable Jan. 4 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 1. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 1 closing price of $25.73 (the day the dividend was announced), is 0.23%. Last week, the company trimmed the upper end of its 2011 earnings per share, citing start-up costs from its new HomeStart business.

Agribusiness conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM) cultivated a boost in its quarterly dividend, growing its payout by 9% to 17.5 cents a share. The new dividend will be paid on Dec. 8 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 17. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 3 closing price of $29.37, is 2.38%. The company also said its fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 33% from last year, mostly due to an accounting gain. Without the gain, its adjusted profit fell from a year earlier on weak margins in its oilseeds business, and higher corn costs.

Natural gas transport and storage behemoth Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP) transported a slight increase in its quarterly distribution to 52.75 cents per unit. The new distribution is payable Nov. 17 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 10. The new dividend yield, based on the Oct. 31 closing price of $28.58, is 7.38%. The company also reported third-quarter earnings that fell 15% as revenue grew more slowly than expected.

Diversified manufacturing giant Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR) assembled a 15.9% increase in its quarterly dividend, upping its payout to 40 cents per share from 34.5 cents. The supplier of technology and engineering services, and automation systems for everything from biopharmaceutical companies to chemical refineries, will pay the dividend on Dec. 9 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 11. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 1 closing price of $48.31, is 3.31%. The company managed to beat estimates for its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings; however, revenue was slightly below expectations.

Skin care, makeup and beauty products manufacturer Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL) made up its quarterly dividend to shareholders, applying a 40% surge in its annual dividend payout to $1.05 per share from 75 cents. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 3 closing price of $118.92, is 0.88%. The company also declared a two-for-one common stock split. Shares of EL surged 14% to an all-time high on Thursday after the company reported first-quarter profit that surged 46%.

Shopping center owner Kimco Realty (NYSE:KIM) raised the rent it pays to shareholders by nearly 6% to 19 cents per share. The new payout will be made on Jan. 17 to shareholders of record on Jan. 4. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 2 closing price of $17.35, is 4.38%. Separately, the company reported that its net income more than doubled in the three months ended Sept. 30.

Specialized welding products manufacturer Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) strengthened its weld with shareholders, boosting its quarterly dividend by 9.7% to 17 cents per share. The new payout will be made on Jan. 13 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 3 closing price of $37.57, is 1.81%.

Automobile dealership owner Penske Automotive (NYSE:PAG) put the pedal to the metal on its quarterly dividend, accelerating its payout by 12.5% to 9 cents per share. The new payout will be issued on Dec. 1 to shareholders of record on Nov. 14. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 2 closing price of $21.69, is 1.66%. Penske also reported a sharp increase in earnings per share, as the dealership group sold more cars at higher prices throughout the third quarter.

Natural gas company Questar (NASDAQ:STR) raised its quarterly payout by a penny to 16.25 cents per share. The new dividend is payable Dec. 12 to shareholders of record on Nov. 18. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 1 closing price of $18.74, is 3.47%. This is the company’s 268th consecutive dividend and second dividend increase this year. Questar has increased its dividend 39 times in the last 39 years.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) brewed up a new quarterly dividend, filling shareholders’ mugs with a 31% bigger payout. The new dividend of 17 cents per share will be poured on Dec. 2 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 17. The new dividend yield, based on the closing price of $41.40, is 1.64%. Starbucks also announced that it plans to repurchase up to 20 million shares of its common stock. The dividend and buyback news came along with a stellar 29% jump in its fiscal fourth-quarter profit that easily bested Wall Street estimates.

Starwood Hotels (NYSE:HOT), operator of well-known lodging brands such as St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Meridien and Sheraton, upgraded its annual dividend payout by 67% to 50 cents per share. The annual dividend will be paid on Dec. 30 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 3 closing price of $51.12, is 0.98%.

Natural and organic grocery chain retailer Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI) served up a 40% increase in its quarterly dividend to 14 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid on Jan. 24 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 13. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 2 closing price of $70.56, is 0.79%. Whole Foods said it saw a 31% jump in fiscal fourth-quarter profit in what was the eighth straight quarter of same-store sales growth. The company also said it was initiating a $200 million share-repurchase program.

Mining firm Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) dug up a 67% increase in its quarterly dividend, lifting its payout to 20 cents per share. The new dividend is payable Jan. 13 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 30. The new dividend yield, based on the Nov. 2 closing price of $15.31, is 1.31%. The move was the second dividend increase this year for Yamana, which cited faster than expected development of its Mercedes mine in Mexico as a partial reason for the payout boost.

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


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2011/11/14-companies-that-just-increased-their-dividend/.

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