It was a wild week for the markets, with big news events pushing stocks decidedly lower. The Fed’s move to continue dancing the “twist” through the end of the year wasn’t enough to get the bulls excited, and then a bevy of less-than-ebullient economic data slapped investor confidence upside the head.
The final blow for stocks this week, however, was Moody’s downgrade of the credit ratings of 15 major financial institution. The rating downgrades included a two-level reduction in the credit quality of Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
Yet despite the downbeat week, there were still a host of big names moving to increase shareholder wealth via a boost in payouts. Seven companies made it onto our Companies Increasing Dividends list this week:
Wireless communications property-site owner American Tower Corp (NYSE:AMT) is a REIT that’s also somewhat of a technology play. This week, the company boosted the signal on its quarterly distribution by 4.8%, to 22 cents per unit. The new dividend is payable July 18 to unitholders of record as of July 2. The new dividend yield, based on the June 21 closing price of $67.13 (the day the dividend was announced), is 1.31%.
Big box electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has enjoyed better days, but the company still is delivering strong dividend performance for its shareholders. Best Buy lifted its payout 6%, to 17 cents per share. The new divided will be boxed up and sent out Oct. 2 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 11. The new dividend yield, based on the June 21 closing price of $19.48, is 3.49%.
Mortgage REIT Dynex Capital (NYSE:DX) invests in agency and non-agency mortgage backed securities, and this week it made a mortgage payment of sorts to shareholders that’s 3.6% higher than the previous payout. The dividend will be paid on July 21 to shareholders of record as of July 6. The new dividend yield, based on the June 21 closing price of $9.92, is 11.69%.
Lodging REIT Host Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HST) is one of the largest owners of luxury and upscale hotel properties, and this week the company upgraded shareholders to a suite. The new dividend of 7 cents per share is 17% higher than the previous payout. The new dividend will be paid on July 16 to shareholders of record as of June 29. The new dividend yield, based on the June 18 closing price of $15.74, is 1.78%.
Closed-end investment management firm NGP Capital Resources (NASDAQ:NGPC) stirred its fiscal plot and poured an 8.3% bigger dividend cup, to 13 cents per share. The new dividend is payable July 9 to shareholders of record as of June 29. The new dividend yield, based on the June 15 closing price of $7.14, is 7.28%. The company also said it repurchased 250,029 shares in the open market in May. The dividend payout represents the 30th consecutive quarter of dividends paid by NGP.
Specialty retailer PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) is a place to go if you want to pamper your pooch. This week, the company moved to pamper shareholders with an 18% bigger dividend collar to 16.5 cents per share. The new payout bowl will be filled on Aug. 10 to shareholders of record as of July 27. The new dividend yield, based on the June 18 closing price of $68.96, is .96%. PetSmart also announced a newly authorized $525 million share repurchase program that’s in effect until January 2014.
Drugstore operator Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) increased the dosage on its quarterly dividend by 22.2%, to 27.5 cents per share. The enhanced fiscal medication will be administered Sept. 12 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 17. The new dividend yield, based on the June 19 closing price of $30.09, is 3.66%. The move represents the largest dividend increase in the company’s 79-year history. Walgreen also has increased its dividend for 37 consecutive years.
At the time of publication, Jim Woods held positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. For more payout winners, see previous weeks’ lists of Companies Increasing Dividends.