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Providing income and stability, dividend-paying stocks help buffer market volatility, deliver yield in a low-interest-rate environment, and offer potential for capital appreciation.
Since 1926, dividends have represented more than 40% of the S&P 500 Index's return, according to Ned Davis Research. Moreover, from 2000-2009, the broad-based benchmark's total return of negative 9% would have been a heftier negative 24% had it not been for the 15% contributions from dividends, according to a May 2013 report from Goldman Sachs.
Some 68 companies hiked their dividends last week, including three Dow Jones Industrial Average components and four notable financial firms.
Following are 25 noteworthy dividend stocks that increased payouts in the week ending May 2.
Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Boosted Payouts
Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG) upped its quarterly dividend $0.07 to $0.55 per share for a 1.82% yield.
American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) raised its quarterly dividend $0.03 to $0.30 a share for a 2.7% yield.
Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE: AMP) increased its quarterly payout 11.5% to $0.58 a share for a 2.07% yield. Spun off from American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) in September 2005, the diversified financial company has been enhancing dividends annually since splitting from its parent company.
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Aon Plc (NYSE: AON) upped its quarterly dividend 43% to $0.25 a share for a 1.18% yield.
BP Plc ADS (NYSE ADR: BP) boosted its quarterly dividend 2.6% to $0.58 per share for a 4.45% yield. It was the second increase in six months from the British oil behemoth, with more increases likely. "As well as progressive growth in the dividend per share, we expect to use surplus cash to support further distributions through share buybacks or other mechanisms," Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in an April 29 statement.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) raised its quarterly dividend $0.07 to $1.07 a share for a 3.43% yield. The increase from this Dow component, the second largest U.S. oil company, marks its 27th consecutive annual hike.