Dividend stocks news: The U.S. stock market had its strongest performance last year since 1997, up just shy of 30% in 2013, as measured by the broad-based Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 26.5% and hitting 52 all-time highs, logged its best annual gain since 1995. And the Nasdaq soared some 38% and marked its best year since 2009.
The record highs were especially sweet for those investing in dividend-paying stocks. Aggregative dividends, estimated at $210 billion last year compared to $286 billion in 2012, reached an historic high, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The best equity gains over the last three decades have come from companies that grow or initiate dividends: 10.3% per year versus 7.6% for payers that don't increase dividends.
With that in mind, here are some of the last notable dividend increases of 2013.
Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Hiked Their Payouts
3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) upped its quarterly dividend 34.6% to $0.85 a share from $0.63. It was the St. Paul, Minn.-based conglomerate's second increase this year and marked the company's 55th consecutive year of dividend boosts. Shares yield 2.5%.
Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) increased its quarterly payout 29.8% to $0.61 a share from $0.47. Shares yield 2.12%.
Archer Daniel Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) grew its quarterly dividend 36.3% to $0.24 a share, up from $0.19. The stock yields 2.2%.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) raised its quarterly dividend a penny to $0.46. Ma Bell has a history of rising and uninterrupted dividend dating back to 1984. Shares yield 5.22%.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) boosted its quarterly dividend 50%, to $0.73 a share, for 2.14% yield. The world's largest maker of commercial jets has been paying dividends without exception since 1942.
Bristol Meyers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) moved its quarterly payout higher by 2.9% to $0.36 a share for a 2.71% yield.
Portfolio Strategy Alert: Over time you can make more money in dividends than you paid to buy the stocks that produce them. Get started here: The Best Dividend Strategy for Building Wealth in the Low-Yield Era
CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS) lifted its quarterly dividend 22.2% to $0.27 a share, up from $0.225. The stock has a 1.54% yield.
Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) raised its quarterly dividend 62.5% to $0.65 a share from $0.40 for a 5% yield.
Great Northern Iron Ore Properties (NYSE: GNI) boosted its quarterly payout by a nickel to $2.65 a share for a near 15% yield.
Hannon Armstrong Cap Inc. (NYSE: HASI) increased its quarterly dividend 57% to $0.22 a share from $0.14. The stock yields 6.34%.
Host Hotel & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: HST) hiked its quarterly dividend 8.3% to $0.13 a share from $0.12. Shares yield 2.68%.
Ingredion Inc. (NYSE: INGR) increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.42 a share, up from $0.38. Shares yield 2.5%.
Mexico Fund Inc. (NYSE: MXF) increased its quarterly dividend 12% to $0.86 a share from $0.77.
Moody's Corp. (NYSE: MCO) moved its dividend up 3 cents to $0.28 a share for 1.42% yield.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) boosted its quarterly payout to $0.26 a share from $0.24, for a healthy 3.4% yield. The increase marks the pharmaceutical giant's fifth consecutive annual increase. Pfizer has been rewarding shareholders with dividends without a miss since 1901.
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. Get them here.
Roper Indus. Inc. (NYSE: ROP) raised its quarterly dividend 21% to $0.20 from $0.16.
SL Green Realty Corp. (NYSE: SLG) sweetened its quarterly payout 51.5% to $0.50 a share from $0.33, for a 2.16% yield.
Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. (NYSE: WDR) increased its quarterly dividend 21% to $0.34 a share from $0.28. Shares yield 2.08%.
Washington Trust Bancorp (Nasdaq: WASH) boosted its quarterly payout 3.8% to $0.27 a share from $0.26. Shares yield nearly 3%.
Zoetis Inc. (NYSE: ZTS) upped its quarterly dividend 10.8% to $0.072 a share. The company was spun off from Pfizer in June 2013.
Energy stocks rose 18% in 2013, and this year is looking even better – but the key to maximum profits is in The Five Biggest Oil Investing Trends of 2014.