The big market news this week was the Federal Reserve and the much more “dovish” stance on the economy, and the likely pushing out of the date of the first interest rate hike in more than seven years. And, while Yellen and company fueled the action in the trading pits, on the dividend stocks front there were several very big names that moved to increase shareholder payouts. Rate hike or no rate hike, there will always be dividend stocks increasing payouts, and this week was no exception.
By far, the biggest of the dividend stocks increasing payouts this week was enterprise software behemoth Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL). One of the most prominent and widely held big-tech bellwethers, ORCL said it would make owning shares even more attractive by increasing its quarterly dividend by 25% to 15 cents per share, up from 12 cents.
The Oracle dividend increase will be paid on Apr. 28 to shareholders of record as of Apr. 7. ORCL shares will become ex-dividend on Apr. 2.
ORCL Dividend Yield: 1.35%
On the flipside of the software coin is hardware, and this week one of the biggest makers of computer and printing hardware also was among the big tech dividend stocks increasing payouts.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) said it was raising its quarterly dividend 10% to 17.6 cents per share. The new dividend will be payable Apr. 1 to shareholders of record as of March 11. No ex-dividend date for the new payment was released.
HPQ Dividend Yield: 2.09%
In addition to these two big-tech stalwarts, six other prominent dividend stocks increased payouts this week.
Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) boosted the altitude on its quarterly dividend by 5.2% to 81 cents per share, up from 77 cents. The industrial gases firm will make the new dividend payment on May 11 to shareholders of record as of Apr. 1. APD goes ex-dividend on March 30.
APD Dividend Yield: 2.02%
Patterson Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:PDCO) added another 10% to its quarterly payment, increasing its dividend by two pennies to 22 cents per share, up from 20 cents. The new dividend will be payable on Apr. 24 to shareholders of record as of Apr. 10. The medical equipment wholesaler’s shares will become ex-dividend on Apr. 8.
PDCO Dividend Yield: 1.75%
Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) turned up the power on its quarterly dividend by 10.7% to 67 cents per share, up from 60.5 cents. The aerospace defense contractor said its new dividend contract with shareholders would begin Apr. 30 to owners of record as of Apr. 1. RTN shares become ex-dividend on March 30.
RTN Dividend Yield: 2.37%.
Torchmark Corporation (NYSE:TMK) is a provider of life insurance and other insurance products, and this week it revised its dividend policy, boosting its payout 6.6% to 13.5 cents per share, up from 12.67 cents. The new payment is scheduled for May 1 to shareholders of record as of Apr. 2. The stock will become ex-dividend on March 31.
TMK Dividend Yield: 0.97%.
W.P. Carey Inc (NYSE:WPC) slightly revised the rent it pays to shareholders by 0.3% to 95.25 cents per share, up from 95 cents. The property management REIT’s new dividend will begin Apr. 15 to shareholders of record as of March 31. WPC stock will become ex-dividend on March 27.
WPC Dividend Yield: 5.4%.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) has restocked shareholder shelves with a 6.1% higher dividend to 35 cents per share, up from 33 cents. The home furnishings retailer said the new dividend is payable May 28 to shareholders of record as of Apr. 24. WSM shares go ex-dividend on Apr. 22.
WSM Dividend Yield: 1.75%.
As of this writing, Jim Woods was long ORCL.