Dividend stocks update: Hunting for dividend-paying stocks with the highest yield might seem like the simplest strategy for investors seeking income, but it's not the best strategy.
First, choice is limited among quality stocks - only 13 S&P 500 Index components boast yields more than 5%. Moreover, outsized yields often accompany a big drop in a stock's price.
The best strategy for dividend investing is to look for companies that continuously increase their payouts. As Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recently pointed out: "The best companies are dividend 'growers,' meaning they are constantly increasing their dividends. It's in your interest to acquire them because you benefit not only from the cold hard cash paid out from time to time, but also from the growth in your cash flow."
Bank of America Merrill Lynch also found that companies boosting dividends fare better when interest rates rise, as Wall Street experts expect will happen soon.
A total of 284 companies raised dividend payouts in February. Following are 30 notable increases among the 79 for the week ending Feb. 28.
Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Hiked Their Payouts
Albemarie Corp. (NYSE: ALB) upped its dividend to $0.27 a share for a 1.7% yield.
B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS) boosted its dividend a penny to $0.34 a share for a 4.35% yield.
Carter's Inc. (NYSE: CRI) increased its dividend $0.03 to $0.19 a share for a yield just above 1%.
Chubb Corp. (NYSE: CB) grew its dividend 13.6% to $0.50 a share for a 2.3% yield.
Covanta Holdings Corp. (NYSE: CVA) boosted its dividend 9% to $0.18 for a 4.07% yield.
Diamondrock Hospitality Corp. (NYSE: DRH) raised its dividend 20% to $0.10 a share for a 2.75% yield.
Just-released: Of the almost 5,000 dividend-paying stocks to choose from, these three companies provide superior payouts and superior long-term grown potential.
Domino's Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) fattened its dividend by a nickel to $0.25 a share for a yield of 1.34%.
Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE: ESRT) increased its dividend 7% to $0.08 for a 2.27% yield.
Fortress Investment Group LLC (NYSE: FIG) raised its dividend $0.02 to $0.08 a share for a yield of 2.76%.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GAP) upped its dividend 20% to $0.12 a share for a 2% yield.
Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) hiked its dividend to $0.47 a share. The 21% increase gives shares a near 2% yield, marks the company's 108th consecutive quarterly dividend payment, and is the fifth boost in four years.
HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HSBC) raised its dividend 90% to $0.50 a share for a yield of 4.67%.
Kimberly Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) increased its dividend by $0.03 to $0.84 per share for 3.08% yield. Best known for personal paper products like Kleenex and Huggies, the increase is the 142-year-old company's 80th straight year of dividend enrichments.
Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) boosted its dividend 11.4% to $0.39 a share for a 2.78% yield. It marks the third increase from the mid-priced apparel and accessory retailer since the company initiated payouts in February 2011 at $0.25 a share.
Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) raised its dividend $0.03, or 10%, to $0.33 a share for a 2.14% yield. One of the nation's top fashion retailers, Nordstrom has been paying dividends since 1971. Over the last 18 years, 2009 was the only one in which it didn't hike payouts.
Northstar Realty Finance Corp. (NYSE: NRF) upped its dividend $0.04 to $0.25 a share for a 6.43% yield.
Old Republic Intl Corp. (NYSE: ORI) increased its dividend 1% to $0.18 a share for a 4.73% yield.
Prologics Inc. (NYSE: PLD) padded its dividend a nickel to $0.33 a share for a 3.2% yield.
Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc. (Nasdaq: RUTH) raised its dividend a penny to $0.05 a share for a 1.58% yield.
Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE: STNG) upped its payout a penny to $0.08 a share for a 3.31% yield.
Portfolio Strategy Alert: Over time you can make more money in dividends than you paid to buy the stocks that produce them. Get today's best dividend strategy for building wealth in the low-yield era.
Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL) raised its dividend $0.03 to $0.95 a share for a near 11% yield.
Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) sweetened its dividend by $0.03 to $0.66 a share for a yield of 2.82%.
St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) boosted its dividend $0.02 to $0.27 a share for a 1.6% yield.
Starwood Property Trust Inc. (Nasdaq: STWD) raised its dividend a dime to $0.48 a share for an 8.4% yield.
Telephone & Data Systems Inc. (NYSE: TDS) increased its dividend by 5% to $0.13 a share for a 2.2% yield.
TX Pacific Land Trust (NYSE: TPL) hiked its dividend $0.02 to $0.27 a share.
Texas Roadhouse Inc. (Nasdaq: TXRG) raised its dividend by $0.03 to $0.15 a share for a 2.3% yield.
Toronto Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD) boosted its payout 118.6% to $0.42 a share for a yield of 3.73%.
UNS Energy Corp. (NYSE: UNS) upped its dividend to $0.48 per share. The nickel increase gives shares a 3.2% yield.
Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) increasesd its dividend to $0.375 a share for a yield of 3.7%.