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Dividend stocks update: Although the markets finally closed in positive territory late last week, overall they're off to a rocky start this year.
On Feb. 3 the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.5% below its all-time high, and on Feb. 5 the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slumped 6.1% below its record close.
Dividend-paying stocks, with their steady stream of income, can soften the blow of falling stock prices. And over the long term, dividend stocks tend to have lower volatility and superior returns than non-dividend-paying stocks, according to data from Ned Davis Research.
However, not all dividend stocks are created equal, 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."
Dividend increases are off to solid start this year, with 73 companies hiking their payouts last week. Following are 25 of the most notable new dividend increases for the week ending Feb. 7.
25 Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Raised Their Payouts
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) raised its dividend a nickel to $0.25 a share for a 1.23% yield.
BCE Inc. (NYSE: BCE) boosted its payout 6% to $0.55 a share. The stock yields 5.29%.
Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) bettered its dividend by a penny to $0.12 a share for a yield of 1.58%.
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Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD) increased its dividend 10.7% to $0.31 a share for a yield just shy of 2%.
CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME) lifted its dividend $0.02 to $0.47 a share for a 2.5% yield.