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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here), I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, I can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again. I have modified the Expected Increase series to reflect a more SA-friendly format by separating the Champions (25 or more years of higher dividends), Contenders (10-24 years), and Challengers (5-9 years) into distinct groupings, so please look for the other articles, which I hope will be published about the same time.

Dividend Growth Picks Up

The summer's typical slowdown in the announcement of dividend increases seems to be giving way to a slightly quicker pace as we enter the autumn months, and that, too, should accelerate as we enter the fourth quarter of the year. (Some December anniversaries may represent "accelerated" payments - prompted by last year's tax-hike fears - that would normally have taken place in early 2013, so once we approach the final weeks of the year, we may see some "delays" that are actually a return to a more normal schedule.) The table below coincides with the usual "forward look" of about 11 weeks for this article.

Based on last year's announcements, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases between now and the anniversary of the Ex-Dividend Date of their previous increase:

Dividend Challengers (5-9 years):

Company

Ticker

No.

7/31

Div.

MR%

LY

Ann.

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Inc.

Ex-Div

Div.

Westlake Chemical Corp.

(WLK)

9

104.02

0.72

154.24

8/28/12

0.75

Delta Natural Gas

(DGAS)

8

22.77

3.16

2.86

8/29/12

0.72

Bob Evans Farms

(BOBE)

7

50.82

2.16

10.00

8/30/12

1.10

China Mobile Limited

(CHL)

7

52.92

4.11

1.85

9/4/12

2.18

Brinker International

(EAT)

8

40.15

1.99

25.00

9/6/12

0.80

Philip Morris International

(PM)

5

89.18

3.81

10.39

9/25/12

3.40

Farmers and Merchants

(OTCQB:FMAO)

9

21.75

3.68

5.26

9/28/12

0.80

Inmarsat plc

(OTC:IMASF)

8

10.77

3.89

10.00

10/3/12

0.42

Accenture plc

(ACN)

8

73.81

2.19

20.00

10/4/12

1.62

Verizon Communications

(VZ)

8

49.48

4.16

3.00

10/8/12

2.06

Covidien plc

(COV)

6

61.63

1.69

15.56

10/9/12

1.04

Pall Corp.

(PLL)

8

69.96

1.43

19.05

10/10/12

1.00

Smith & Nephew plc

(SNN)

7

59.45

1.74

26.07

10/10/12

1.04

Yum! Brands Inc.

(YUM)

9

72.92

1.84

17.54

10/10/12

1.34

American Financial Group

(AFG)

7

51.69

1.51

11.43

10/11/12

0.78

A. Schulman Inc.

(SHLM)

5

26.80

2.91

2.63

10/17/12

0.78

Senior Housing Properties

(SNH)

9

25.15

6.20

2.63

10/18/12

1.56

Crestwood Midstream LP

(CMLP)

6

26.37

7.74

2.00

10/26/12

2.04

ConAgra Foods Inc.

(CAG)

6

36.21

2.76

4.17

10/29/12

1.00

MR=Most Recent; LY=Last Year

Extra due diligence may be appropriate for the foreign companies on the list, which trade as ADRs (American Depository Receipts) and may pay dividends that fluctuate with profits and be subject to higher tax rates, in addition to currency exchange rates. Also note that CMLP is being acquired, so a dividend increase may not be forthcoming. Not all of the above companies will meet the strict standards of every investor, but some may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. Potential investors should do more research before committing funds.

Every Picture Tells a Story

As a bonus, I'm inserting one of Chuck Carnevale's F.A.S.T. Graphs below, highlighting one of the companies listed above. When the stock's price line has moved into the green area, it indicates that the stock is undervalued in relation to its earnings. I'm attaching the chart below.

(click to enlarge)

Source: Dividend Challengers: 19 Increases Expected By October 31