Dividend stocks have become increasingly important to investors, and companies are taking note.
Some 84% of S&P 500 Index components were paying dividends as of April 30, according to FactSet.
Except for a slight dip during the 2008 financial crisis, the number of S&P 500 companies that pay dividends has been rising for the last decade. Last month's tally represented the highest month-end figure in 18 years.
Dividend-paying stocks are particularly appealing amid today's market volatility and low interest rate environment. Indeed, companies that paid dividends outperformed nonpayers this past March and April - both rocky months for stocks. Returns in March and April averaged 1.3% and 0.89% respectively for dividend payers, compared with negative 2.3% and negative 2.6% respectively for nonpayers, FactSet reports.
Last week, 72 companies hiked their payouts. Following are 25 notable dividend stocks that boosted payouts in the week ending May 9.
Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Increased Payouts
Access Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: ACMP) increased its quarterly dividend 50% to $0.09 per share for a yield just shy of 4%.
Baxter Intl. Inc. (NYSE: BAX) boosted its quarterly dividend $0.03 to $0.52 a share for a 2.77% yield. The new rate maintains Baxter's dividend payout ratio of approximately 40%. Since 2008, the healthcare giant has more than doubled its dividend.
Buckeye Partners LP (NYSE: BPL) raised its quarterly dividend 1.1% to $1.10 a share for a 5.73% yield.
Cabot Corp. (NYSE: CBT) increased its quarterly payout $0.02 to $0.22 a share for a 1.37% yield.
Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH) upped its quarterly dividend 13.2% to $0.34 a share for a 2.13% yield.
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Chesapeake Utilities Corp. (NYSE: CPK) raised its quarterly dividend 5.2% to $0.40 a share for a 2.54% yield. The Dover, Del.-based company has maintained or hiked its dividend for 53 straight years.
FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS) fattened its quarterly dividend $0.04 to $0.39 a share for a 1.48% yield.
Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc. (NYSE: HY) hiked its quarterly payout 10% to $0.25 a share for a 1.25% yield.
J2 Global Inc. (Nasdaq: JCOM) boosted its quarterly payout 2.9% to $0.27 a share for a 2.24% yield.
Microchip Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MCHP) moved its dividend up 0.1% to $0.355 a share for a 3.03% yield. The dividend increase followed record Q4 and fiscal 2014 revenues and earnings. The semi-conductor earned $0.50 per share, or $111.5 million, in Q4 2014, up 88% year over year.
Nacco Industries Inc. (NYSE: NC) raised its dividend 3% to $0.2575 a share for a near 2% yield.
Nielsen Hldg N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) increased its quarterly dividend a nickel to $0.25 a share for a 2.13% yield.
Penske Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: PAG) hiked its quarterly dividend a penny to $0.19 a share for a 1.66% yield. "The increase in the dividend reflects the continued confidence we have in the strength of the auto retail market and our ability to continue to grow our overall business," a company statement said.
PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) sweetened its quarterly dividend 15.4% to $0.655 a share for a 3.01% yield. It's the snack and beverage behemoth's 42nd consecutive annual dividend enhancement. Additionally, Pepsi plans to increase stock repurchases in 2014 to $5 billion. The two programs combined are expected to return a total of $8.7 billion to shareholders this year, a 35% increase from 2013 levels.
Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) hiked its quarterly dividend 28.2% to $0.50 a share for a 2.44% yield. It's the company's second increase in 6 months.
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Quaker Chemical Corp. (NYSE: KWR) increased its quarterly payout a nickel to $0.30 a share for a 1.60% yield. It's the Conshohocken, Pa.-based company's 39th dividend enrichment in 42 consecutive years of paying dividends.
Sabra Healthcare REIT Inc. (Nasdaq: SBRA) raised its quarterly dividend $0.02 to $0.38 a share for a 5.33% yield.
Salient MLP & Energy Infrastructure (NYSE: SMF) raised its quarterly dividend 0.9% to $0.353 a share for a 6% yield.
Semgroup Corp. (NYSE: SEMG) upped its quarterly dividend $0.02 to $0.24 a share for a 1.36% yield.
Spectra Energy Partners LP (NYSE: SEP) increased its quarterly dividend 1.8% to $0.55 per share for a 4.24% yield.
Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU) raised its quarterly payout 5.6% to $0.34 a share for a 3.86% yield.
Terra Nitrogen Co. LP (NYSE: TNH) hiked its quarterly payout $1.00, or 43.3%, to $3.01 a share for a 7.33% yield.
USA Compression Partners LP (NYSE: USAC) upped its quarterly distribution 2.1% to $0.49 a share for a 7.26% yield.
Westpac Banking Corp. ADR (NYSE ADR: WBK) boosted its semi-annual payout 7.5% to $0.83 a share for a near 5% yield.
Whiting USA Trust II (NYSE: WHZ) increased its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.67 a share for a 21.47% yield.
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