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sagitarius84 (36.19)

Busy week for dividend increases

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January 22, 2010 – Comments (1) | RELATED TICKERS: ED , MHFI , FDO

January is typically a busy month for dividend increases. The past week has most probably accounted for the majority of the increases for the month already. Increasing a company’s dividend for another consecutive year reflects management’s strong financial position and their confidence in the long-term growth opportunity of the company. I have summarized the increases by several types – dividend aristocrats and achievers, Berkshire Hathaway Holdings and potential dividend achievers.

Dividend Aristocrats and Achievers

The dividend aristocrats list includes companies which have increased dividends for over 25 years in a row. It is equally weighted and re-balanced once a year. To become a dividend achiever a company must have increased its annual regular dividend payments for the last ten or more consecutive years.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. (ED), which provides electric, gas, and steam utility services in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 0.85% to 59.50 cents per share. Consolidated Edison, Inc. is a dividend aristocrat, which has increased its quarterly dividend for thirty-six consecutive years. The stock currently yields 5.10%. (analysis)

McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP), which provides information services and products to the financial services, education, and business information markets worldwide, increased its quarterly dividend by 4.40% to 23.50 cents per share. This is the 37th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend aristocrat. McGraw-Hill also announced that it will buy back over time the 17.1 million shares remaining in its share repurchase program approved by the Board in 2007. The stock currently yields 2.70%. (analysis)

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (FDO), which operates a chain of self-service retail discount stores for low to lower-middle income consumers in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 14.80% to 15.50 cents per share. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. is a dividend aristocrat, which has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the past thirty-four consecutive years. The stock currently yields 2.00%. (analysis)

Polaris Industries Inc. (PII), which designs, engineers, and manufactures off-road vehicles, raised its quarterly dividend by 3% to 40 cents per share. This represents the 15th consecutive year of Polaris increasing its dividend. This dividend achiever currently yields 3.50%.

Berkshire Hathaway Holdings

These companies are owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)

Wesco Financial Corporation (WSC), which engages in insurance, furniture rental, and steel service center businesses in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 2.40% to 42 cents per share. This is the thirty-seventh annual dividend increase for this dividend champion. The largest shareholder in the company is Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A). The stock currently yields only 0.40%.

Washington Post Company (WPO), which operates as a diversified education and media company in the United States and internationally, increased its quarterly dividend by 4.60% to $2.25 per share. Washington Post Company also announced plans to buy back up to 750,000 shares. One of the company’s largest shareholders is Warren Buffett. Despite the fact that the company hasn’t raised dividends each year, it has been able to boost distributions every other year. However the stock currently yields 1.90%, and the dividend is not well covered.

Potential Dividend Achievers

These are the companies which could become members of the dividend achievers index if the keep raising annual distributions for the next few years.

Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. (OHI), a self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT), which invests primarily in long-term healthcare facilities in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 6.70% to 32 cents per share. This is the first increase for the company since 2008. Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. has increased its quarterly dividend in each of the past six years. The company had previously eliminated distributions for 2001 and 2002. The stock currently yields 6.00%.

Enterprise Bancorp, Inc. (EBTC), which operates as the holding company for Enterprise Bank and Trust Company that provides various banking products and services, increased its quarterly dividend by 5.30% to 10 cents per share. Enterprise Bancorp, Inc. has increased its dividends for 15 years in a row. However the company has been publicly traded only since 2005. The stock currently yields 3.70%.

ONEOK, Inc. (OKE), which engages in the purchase, transportation, storage, and distribution of natural gas in the United States and Canada, increased its quarterly dividend by 4.80% to 44 cents per share. ONEOK, Inc. is a general partner of ONEOK Partners L.P. (OKS) and has raised dividends for 8 consecutive years. The stock currently yields 3.70%.

ONEOK Partners, L.P. (OKS), which engages in the ownership and management of natural gas gathering, processing, storage, and interstate and intrastate pipeline assets, as well as natural gas liquids (NGLs) gathering and distribution pipelines, increased its quarterly distribution $1.10 per unit. This master limited partnership has increased its quarterly distributions in each of the past five consecutive years. The units currently yield 6.80%.

Spectra Energy Partners, LP (SEP), which engages in the transportation of natural gas through interstate pipeline systems, and the storage of natural gas in underground facilities in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend from 40 to 41 cents per unit. This is the ninth consecutive quarterly distribution increase for Spectra Energy Partners, LP since it went public in 2007. This master limited partnership currently yields 5.30%.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF), which engages in the design, manufacture, and retail of fine jewelry., increased its quarterly dividend by 18% to 20 cents per share. In addition to that the company announced that it would be resuming its stock buyback plan. Tiffany & Co. has increased its annual dividend in each of the past eight years. The stock currently yields 1.50%.

Pall Corporation (PLL), which manufactures and markets filtration, purification, and separation products and integrated systems solutions worldwide, increased its quarterly dividend by 10.30% to 16 cents per share. This is the sixth consecutive dividend increase for Pall Corporation since the company cut dividends in 2002. The stock currently yields 1.50%.

Finish Line, Inc. (FINL), which operates as a mall-based specialty retailer in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 33% to 4 cents per share. This is only the second dividend increase from the company since 2007. The stock also currently yields only 1.40%, which coupled with the short history of dividend raises makes it a pass for now.
Summary

I like Con Edison (ED) as a stock better suited for current income. McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP) looks like an interesting position to add on dips below $31.30. Polaris Industries Inc. (PII) also looks like an interesting company that I would add to my list for further research.

Full Disclosure: Long FDO, ED and MHP

Relevant Articles:

- Buffett the dividend investor
- 3 dividend increases, more expected in January
- 2010’s Top Dividend Plays
- Dividend Aristocrats List for 2010
- A Strong week for MLP distributions

1 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM, sagitarius84 (36.19) wrote:

Do you think that the stock market will correct more from this point, or is the recent weakness temporary?

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