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There are income investors and Dividend Growth investors. While the distinction is rather simple, it slips past many casual observers. Income investors are investing for maximum current income, while dividend growth investors are looking to maximize income over an extended period of time — usually sacrificing current income for potential greater future earnings. Unlike fixed income investments, a growing dividend means a growing yield on cost.

This week several companies raised their shareholders' yield-on-cost by increasing their cash dividends:

Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE:WEC) generates and distributes electric energy, as well as distributes natural gas. July 18, the company increased its quarterly dividend 12.5% to $0.3825 per share. The dividend is payable Sept. 1, 2013, to stockholders of record on August 14, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 3.5%.

Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE:KMI) owns and operates energy transportation and storage assets in the United States and Canada. July 17, the company increased its quarterly distribution 7% to $1.32 per unit. The distribution is payable on August 14, 2013, to unit holders of record as of July 31, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 4.0%.

Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. (NYSE:OHI) operates as a real estate investment trust [REIT] investing in healthcare facilities, principally long-term healthcare facilities in the United States. July 26, the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.2% to $0.47 per share. The dividend is payable August 15, 2013, to common stockholders of record as of the close of business on July 31, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 5.7%.

Mercantile Bank Corporation (NASDAQ:MBWM) operates as the bank holding company for Mercantile Bank of Michigan that provides financial products and services primarily to small-to medium-sized businesses, individuals, and governmental units. July 16, the company increased its quarterly dividend 9% to $0.12 per share. The dividend is payable September 10, 2013, to holders of record as of August 9, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.4%.

The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) engages in manufacturing and marketing branded food products worldwide. July 15, the company increased its quarterly dividend 11.5% to $0.58 per share. The dividend is payable on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Friday, August 16, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.2%.

National Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) is a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust that acquires, owns, manages, and develops retail properties in the United States. July 15th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.5% to $0.405 per share. The dividend is payable August 15, 2013, to common shareholders of record on July 31, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 4.4%.

Education Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:EDR), a real estate investment trust, develops, acquires, owns, and manages student housing communities located near university campuses in the United States. July 15, the company increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.11 per share. The dividend is payable August 15, 2013, to shareholders of record as of July 31, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.3%.

Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE:R) provides transportation and supply chain management solutions. It operates in two segments, Fleet Management Solutions [FMS] and Supply Chain Solutions [SCS]. July 12, the company increased its quarterly dividend 9.7% to $0.34 per share. The dividend is payable September 20, 2013, to shareholders of record on August 19, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.3%.

Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently raised their dividends; it is not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.

Disclosure: Long NNN in my Dividend Growth Portfolio, and long OHI in my High-Yield Portfolio. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

Source: 8 Dividend Stocks Raising Their Yield On Cost