Dividend Stocks: 25 New Increases for Yield Seekers

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Dividend stocks update: Many investors are rethinking their investment strategies amid prospects of interest rate hikes, especially in the wake of last week's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

During the last five-plus years of a near-zero interest rate environment, dividend-paying stocks have been an attractive option for investors. But with rising rates on the horizon, high yield is becoming increasingly less important than dividend growth potential.

First, companies that continuously increase their payouts have historically performed better than those that do not pay dividends, according to Ned Davis Research.
dividend stocks
Moreover, companies with a long history of dividend growth display higher returns on equity (ROE). Companies in the NASDAQ US Dividend Achievers Index (IndexNasdaq: DAA) have logged a 22% annual ROE over the last decade compared with a 13% annual ROE for all companies in the S&P 500 Index, according to exchange-traded fund sponsor and asset manager Wisdom Tree.

So you see, a portfolio that includes dividend growers is one that tends to beat the market. And with market returns this year expected to be modest compared to the 32% return (including dividends) logged in 2013, investing in dividend growers is a smart move.

Following are 25 dividend stocks that increased payouts in the week ending March 21.

Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Boosted Their Payouts

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD) raised its dividend $0.06 to $0.77 a share for a 2.52% yield.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. (NYSE: ARE) upped its dividend $0.02 to $0.70 a share for a yield of 3.8%.

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. (NYSE: ANH) hiked its dividend 75% to $0.14 a share for a 10.67% yield.

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Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (NYSE ADR: BBVA) boosted its dividend 73.7% to $0.23 a share for a 5.51% yield.

Blackstone Mortgage Trust Inc. (NYSE: BXMT) increased its dividend $0.03 to $0.48 a share for a 6.56% yield.

Cherry Hill Mortgage Investment Corp. (NYSE: CHMI) boosted its dividend 11.1% to $0.50 a share for a near 11% yield.

Cohen & Steers Inc. (NYSE: CNS) raised its dividend $0.02 to $0.22 a share for a 2.22% yield.

DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW) increased its dividend by 50% to $0.1875 a share for a 2% yield.

Great Southern Bancorp (Nasdaq: GSBC) grew its dividend 11% to $0.22 a share for a 2.62% yield.

Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES) upped its dividend 12.5% to $0.22 a share for a 3.21% yield. The Los Angeles clothier debuted disbursements in early 2007 at $0.03 a share. In addition to steadily boosting quarterly payouts, the company paid special dividends in 2010 and 2012 of $2 and $1.20 respectively.

Hurco Co. Inc. (Nasdaq: HURC) raised its dividend 40% to $0.07 a share for a yield of 1.7%.

Independent Bank Corp. (Nasdaq: INDB) increased its dividend $0.02 to $0.24 a share for a 2.4% yield.

Kayne Anderson MLP Inc. (NYSE: KYN) grew its dividend 2.5% to $0.6265 a share for a yield just shy of 7%.

Mercadolibre Inc. (Nasdaq: MELI) boosted its dividend 16% to $0.166 a share for a yield approaching 1%.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE ADR: NVO) hiked its annual dividend 35.2% to $0.84 a share for a near 2% yield.

Patterson Co. Inc. (Nasdaq: PDCO) padded its dividend 25% to $0.25 a share for a 1.94% yield.

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Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE: PEB) increased its dividend 44% to $0.23 a share for a yield of 2.4%.

Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) raised its dividend 10% to $0.60 a share for a yield of 2.5%. The 92-year-old Waltham, Mass.-company has paid uninterrupted dividends since 1964. The latest enrichment marks the world's sixth largest military contactor's 10th annual boost.

Rexford Industrial Realty (NYSE: REXR) hiked its dividend 33.3% to $0.12 a share for a 3.41% yield.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (Nasdaq: STLD) sweetened its dividend 4.5% to $0.22 a share for a 2.6% yield. This marks the second consecutive annual increase from one of America's largest steel producers and metals recyclers. The Indiana-based company initiated payouts in 2004 and had been growing them every year until sinking steel tabs forced it to slash disbursements by 25% to $0.075 a share in June 2009.

Sun Communities Inc. (NYSE: SUI) increased its dividend 3.2% to $0.65 a share for a yield of 5.85%.

Torchmark Corp. (NYSE: TMK) boosted its dividend $0.02 to $0.19 a share for a near 1% yield.

UDR Inc. (NYSE: UDR) upped its dividend 10.6% to $0.26 a share for a 4.11% yield.

W.P. Carey Inc. (NYSE: WPC) raised its dividend $0.02 to $0.895 a share for a 5.66% yield.

Washington Trust Bancorp (Nasdaq: WASH) upped its dividend 7.4% to $0. 29 a share for a 3.06% yield.

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