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On the hunt for income, investors continue to pile on to stocks that pay dividends, helping to drive the price of those stocks higher.
But it's not just steady income that's making dividend stocks so attractive right now. Apprehension over the future direction of U.S. markets amid a five-plus-year bull run is another key reason.
In the first half of 2014, dividend-paying stocks in the S&P 500 Index rose 9.8%, compared to an 8.8% gain for non-payers. For the second half of the year, a number of analysts recommend swapping big-paying dividend stocks for shares of companies with smaller dividends but that are expected to grow their payouts.
Stocks with the highest yield tend to become less appealing as interest rates rise (as expected in the coming months) because investors can get comparable yields from less risky assets.
Dividend growers, meanwhile, generally have increasing cash flows and continue to reward shareholders even in a rising interest rate environment. In return, investors reward those companies by staying loyal to them.
Last week, 16 companies boosted their dividends and one declared a special dividend. Following are the 17 dividend enrichments announced during the week ending July 11.
These Stocks That Pay Dividends Just Hiked Their Payouts
Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: CHT) announced a special $0.71 per-share dividend payable Sept. 3 to shareholders of record July 17.
Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: CVLY) raised its quarterly dividend 4.2% to $0.125 a share for a 2.34% yield.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) hiked its quarterly dividend $0.04 to $0.73 a share for a 3.26% yield. It was the second dividend boost since the world's largest independent oil and gas exploration company spun off its refining unit in May 2012. COP said it plans to increase value for shareholders through portfolio optimization, with a focus in capital investments. The aim is to deliver 3% to 5% growth in production and cash margins, improved returns on capital, and a compelling dividend.
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Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) increased its quarterly dividend $0.15, or 24.8%, to $0.78 a share for a 2.05% yield. The boost was the ninth consecutive annual boost from the global manufacturer of natural gas engines. The Indiana-based company also added another $1 billion to its share buyback program. CMI said it's committed to returning 50% of full-year operating cash flow to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases.
Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE: EPD) raised its quarterly payout a penny to $0.72 per share for a 3.71% yield. The increase is the 49th distribution increase since EPD's initial public offering in 1998, as well as its 40th consecutive quarterly boost.
Fifth Street Finance Corp. (Nasdaq: FSC) fattened its monthly distribution 10.1% to $0.091 a share for a 10.27% yield. The increase reflects the company's "successful plan execution" of cutting costs and increasing net investment income.
First Trust Dividend & Income Fund (NYSE: FAV) upped its quarterly payout a penny to $0.17 a share for a 6.74% yield.
First Trust Energy Income & Growth Fund (NYSEMKT: FEN) raised its quarterly dividend 0.9% to $0.54 a share for a 6% yield.
Genesis Energy LP (NYSE: GEL) goosed its quarterly dividend 2.7% to $0.565 a share for a 4.14% yield. This is the 36th consecutive quarter in which Genesis has increased its quarterly distribution. During this period, 31 of those quarterly increases have been 10% or greater year over year.
Healthcare Services Group Inc. (Nasdaq: HCSG) hiked its quarterly payout 0.7% to $0.173 a share for a 2.45% yield.
Highway Holdings Ltd. (NYSEMKT: HIHO) raised its quarterly dividend a penny, or 25% to $0.05 a share, for a 3.37% yield.
Home Federal Bancorp Inc. of Louisiana (Nasdaq: HFBL) juiced its quarterly payout a penny, or 16.7%, to $0.07 a share for a 1.5% yield. "The increase in our dividend reflects our continued commitment to creating value for our shareholders and confidence in the financial strength and long-term prospects for the Company," James R. Barlow, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Macquarie Infrastructure Co. LLC (NYSE: MIC) moved its quarterly dividend up 1.3% to $0.95 a share for a 5.51% yield. Last week, MIC shares reach an all-time high of $69.
Paychex Inc. (NYSE: PAYX) boosted its quarterly dividend $0.03 to $0.38 a share for a 3.63% yield.
Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA) hiked its quarterly payout 2.4% to $0.645 a share for a 4.42% yield. Once the August distribution is paid, PAA will have increased its quarterly distribution 39 times in the past 41 quarters and consecutively in each of the past 20 quarters.
Plain GP Holdings LP (NYSE: PAPG) increased its quarterly distribution 7.5% to $0.18 a share for a 2.45% yield.
Siliconware Precision Industries (Nasdaq ADR: SPIL) sweetened its annual payout 33.5% to $0.301 a share for a 3.64% yield.
Don't forget to claim your free dividends report: The Best Dividend Strategy for Building a Fortune in the Low-Yield Era
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