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Last year was one of the best for dividend-paying stocks and their investors...
More than 3,300 companies hiked their payouts in 2014. That's a 14.3% increase from the 2,895 dividend stocks that raised payouts in 2013.
The 2014 fiscal year saw a total of $54.8 billion in dividend increases. That's just below 2013's full-year increase of $54.9 billion.
"Overall, this is the fourth year we've seen double-digit increases in cash dividends, with companies increasing cash payments by $197 billion over the four years," Howard Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
2015 could set another record for dividend payments. One thing that investors do need to watch, though, is the effect of plunging oil prices.
"Energy accounts for over 11% of dividends in the general market," said Silverblatt. If lower oil prices cut into earnings and cash flow, dividends could eventually be hurt."
But there are no signs of a yield slowdown just yet. Dividend hikes were robust last week.
Following are the 23 dividend stocks - including one of our favorites, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) - that boosted payouts during the week ending Jan. 9.
Dividend-Paying Stocks That Just Raised Payouts
Alamo Group Inc. (NYSE: ALG) raised its quarterly payout a penny to $0.08 a share for a 0.65% yield.
Bank of the Ozarks Inc. (Nasdaq: OZRK) boosted its quarterly dividend 4% to $0.13 a share for a 1.5% yield.
Blackrock MuniVest Fund Inc. (NYSEMKT: MVF) hiked its monthly payout 3.2% to $0.815 a share for a 6.34% yield.
DDR Corp. (NYSE: DDR) raised its quarterly dividend 11.3% to $0.17 a share for a 3.63% yield. News of the dividend enhancement sent shares of the power-center real estate investment trust (REIT) to a 52-week high of $19.40. DDR has been increasing its dividend annually since 2011.
Diversified Real Asset Income Fund (NYSE: DRA) increased its monthly payout 8.3% to $0.117 a share for an 8% yield.
If you aren't a Money Morning Member, sign up now for free to see 18 more dividend-paying stocks that just raised payouts. You'll also get this dividend investing report with three superior picks to help grow your income: The Best Dividend Strategy for Building Fortune in a Low-Yield Era