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As many income investors know, dividend investing can result in the guarantee of income or in certain cases where the investor has a dividend reinvestment account, more shares. I personally prefer the latter, but that's just me. In the case of the three stocks featured, the dividend increases shouldn't be the only positive catalysts taken into account before establishing a position.

The Valspar Corporation (NYSE:VAL) announced a 15% or $0.03/share increase to its current dividend of $0.20/share. It also announced the date of its regular dividend distribution, which is now set for December 28, to shareholders of record as of December 17. As a result of the increase, the company now yields 1.47% ($0.92) on an annual basis, which is then broken down and distributed to shareholders each quarter.

When researching Valspar the dividend hike isn't the only thing that potential investors should consider a positive catalyst. In my opinion there are several variables that need to be taken into account. The first catalyst to consider is the fact the company has surpassed analysts' estimates by an average of 8.45% in each of the last four quarters. The second variable to consider are the company's profit (7.27%) and operating (11.99%) margins, which have been quite solid over the last 12 months.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the recent announcement of the company's fourth-quarter earnings, which demonstrated a profit of 79 cents per share, compared with a loss of $295.7 million, or $3.18 per share, in the same quarter last year. According to the company's Chairman and CEO Gary E. Hendrickson, ""We overcame the challenge of uneven global markets by winning significant new business and through a relentless focus on productivity. In addition, we returned cash to shareholders by repurchasing 5.7 million shares and increased our dividend for the 34th consecutive year. Additionally, our productivity initiatives and operating discipline will support further margin expansion. We estimate fiscal 2013 net income per share to be in the range of $3.65 to $3.85, delivering another year of double-digit earnings growth."

York Water Co. (NASDAQ:YORW) announced a 3.5% or $0.0047/share increase on November 20, to its current dividend of $0.1336/share. It also announced the date of its regular dividend distribution, which is now set for January 15, to shareholders of record as of December 15. As a result of the increase, the company now yields 3.2% ($1.52) on an annual basis, which is then broken down and distributed to shareholders each quarter.

When it comes to York Water the dividend hike isn't the only thing that potential investors should consider a positive catalyst. In my opinion there are three more variables that need to be taken into account. The first catalyst to consider is the fact the stock is trading at a 3.09% discount to its current 50-DMA and a 4.13% discount to its current 200-DMA.The second variable to consider are the company's profit (21.95%) and operating (48.89%) margins, which have been quite solid over the last 12 months.

Lastly, and most importantly, the recent announcement the company has made with regard to the acquisitions of York Starview, LP and Section A Water Corp. On November 7, and coupled with the company's most recent quarterly report, York Water announced the closings of both transactions and noted the immediate effect each will have on the company's long-term performance.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE:NUE) announced a 0.68% or $0.0025/share increase to its current dividend of $0.365/share. It also announced the date of its regular dividend distribution, which is now set for February 11, to shareholders of record as of December 31. As a result of the increase, the company now yields 3.61% ($1.45) on an annual basis, which is then broken down and distributed to shareholders each quarter.

When considering a position in Nucor the dividend hike isn't the only thing that potential investors should consider a positive catalyst. In my opinion there are two more variables that need to be taken into account. The first catalyst to consider is the fact the company has surpassed analysts' estimates by an average of 10.08% in each of the last four quarters, with the only anomaly coming in the June '12 quarter.

Lastly, and most importantly, the company's Chief Operating Officer, John Ferriola will be taking over as Chief Executive Officer on January 1. According to Mr. Ferriola, "I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the tremendous team we've assembled. We have many challenges in front of us, as we continue to work safely and take care of our customers. I am extremely excited about the impressive work being done by our team to significantly grow Nucor's earnings platform well into the future."

Final Analysis

For potential investors looking to establish a position in either Valspar, York Water or Nucor I'd continue to take a closer look at each company and keep a watchful eye out for such things as an improvement in earnings growth or an increase in each of the company's dividends. The slightest hint or indication of negative news with regard to earnings or product performance and a sell-off could certainly ensue. If potential investors are looking to scoop up shares based on value, I'd do so with a medium to moderate position and add to that position as dividends are announced.

Source: 3 Companies To Consider In The Wake Of Recent Dividend Hikes