Continued Dividend Increases Despite Market Climate

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 |  Includes: AXS, ECL, ENB, GE, GGG, LECO, OGE, SYK, UHT, WEC
by: Dividend Growth Investor

Last week marked yet another rollercoaster performance in the stock market

, as major indices clocked in yet another weekly loss. Markets rebounded from their lows on Monday as they were reassured by General Electric (NYSE:GE) that it will maintain its dividend payment in 2009, which boosted the stock by over $2 in one day. Several more dividend stocks rewarded their patient shareholders with a raise in their quarterly payments. Dividends are normally paid out of earnings and are often used to measure a company’s financial condition. Only the companies that are experiencing significant increases in free cash flow will be in a position to provide a growing stream of dividend payments to their stockholders.

Enbridge Inc (NYSE:ENB), which engages in the transportation and distribution of crude oil and natural gas, announced that its Board has approved a 12% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.33 to $0.37 per common share. Enbridge is an international dividend achiever which has increased its dividends for over twelve years. The stock currently yields 3.60%.

Stryker (NYSE:SYK), which operates as a medical technology company, announced that its Board has approved a 21% increase in its annual dividend from $0.33 to $0.40 per common share. Stryker has increased its dividends for almost seventeen years. The stock currently yields 1.10%.

Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE:WEC), which provides electricity and natural gas services in Wisconsin and Michigan, announced that its Board has approved a 25% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.27 to $0.3375 per common share. Wisconsin Energy Corporation has increased its dividends for almost six years in a row. The stock currently yields 2.60%.


AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (NYSE:AXS), which is a Bermuda-based global provider of specialty lines insurance, announced that its Board has approved an 8% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.20 per common share. This would mark the fifth consecutive annual increase in AXIS Capital Holdings’ dividends. The stock currently yields 3.00%.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL), which is engaged in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services, announced that its Board has approved an 8% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.14 per common share. Ecolab Inc. is a dividend achiever which has increased its dividends for over two decades. The stock currently yields 1.50%.

OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE:OGE), which operates as an energy and energy services provider, announced that its Board has approved a 3% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.3475 to $0.355 per common share. This marks the third consecutive dividend increase for OGE Energy Corp. since 2005. The stock currently yields 6.00%.

Lincoln Electric Holdings (NASDAQ:LECO), which engages in the manufacture and resale of welding and cutting products worldwide, announced that its Board has approved an 8% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.25 to $0.27 per common share. This represents the seventh consecutive dividend increase for Lincoln Electric Holdings since 2002. The stock currently yields 2.40%.

Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG), which provides fluid handling solutions to manufacturing, processing, construction, and maintenance sectors, announced that its Board has approved a 3% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.185 to $0.19 per common share. Graco Inc has increased its dividends for almost nine years. The stock currently yields 3.70%.

Universal Health Realty Income Trust (NYSE:UHT), one of the few real estate investment trusts to actually increase its dividends, announced that its Board of Trustees has approved an increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.585 to $0.59 per common share. Universal Health Realty Income Trust is a dividend achiever which has increased its dividends for over two decades. The stock currently yields 7.80%.