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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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