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In compiling the Dividend Champions list 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 Continues to Accelerate

As mentioned last month, the quicker pace entering the autumn months is accelerating as we enter the fourth quarter of the year. (Next month, we'll see some December anniversaries that represent "accelerated" payments - prompted by last year's tax-hike fears - that may appear as "delays," but 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.

8/30

Div.

MR%

LY

Ann.

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Inc.

Ex-Div

Div.

Farmers and Merchants

(OTCQB:FMAO)

9

21.25

3.76

5.26

9/28/12

0.80

Inmarsat plc

(OTCPK:IMASF)

8

10.71

3.91

10.00

10/3/12

0.42

Accenture plc

(NYSE:ACN)

8

72.25

2.24

20.00

10/4/12

1.62

Covidien plc

(NYSE:COV)

6

59.40

1.75

15.56

10/9/12

1.04

Pall Corp.

(NYSE:PLL)

8

69.14

1.45

19.05

10/10/12

1.00

Yum! Brands Inc.

(NYSE:YUM)

9

70.02

1.91

17.54

10/10/12

1.34

A. Schulman Inc.

(NASDAQ:SHLM)

5

26.96

2.89

2.63

10/17/12

0.78

Senior Housing Properties

(NYSE:SNH)

9

22.75

6.86

2.63

10/18/12

1.56

ConAgra Foods Inc.

(NYSE:CAG)

6

33.82

2.96

4.17

10/29/12

1.00

Techne Corp.

(NASDAQ:TECH)

5

77.51

1.55

7.14

11/1/12

1.20

High Country Bancorp Inc.

(OTCPK:HCBC)

5

29.50

4.75

27.27

11/7/12

1.40

NuStar GP Holdings LLC

(NYSE:NSH)

7

23.69

9.20

6.86

11/7/12

2.18

Hickory Tech Corp.

(HTCO)

5

10.02

5.79

3.57

11/13/12

0.58

Kroger Company

(NYSE:KR)

7

36.60

1.64

30.43

11/13/12

0.60

Visa Inc.

(NYSE:V)

6

174.42

0.76

50.00

11/14/12

1.32

AmerisourceBergen Corp.

(NYSE:ABC)

8

56.92

1.48

61.54

11/15/12

0.84

Tim Hortons Inc.

(NYSE:THI)

7

54.79

1.54

23.46

11/26/12

0.84

DeVry Inc.

(NYSE:DV)

7

30.01

1.13

13.33

11/28/12

0.34

Evercore Partners Inc.

(NYSE:EVR)

6

44.59

1.97

10.00

11/28/12

0.88

American Equity Investment

(NYSE:AEL)

9

19.81

0.76

25.00

11/29/12

0.15

Orange County Bancorp

(OTCQB:OCBI)

5

39.90

3.81

5.56

11/29/12

1.52

Suncor Energy Inc.

(NYSE:SU)

7

33.87

1.48

14.68

11/29/12

0.50

MR=Most Recent; LY=Last Year

Note that there are a number of foreign companies above that trade as ADRs (American Depository Receipts), so potential investors should consider tax withholding and currency exchange, in addition to the possibility of an irregular dividend schedule. Among the Contenders and Challengers there are also about two dozen MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships) that typically increase their distributions on a quarterly basis, which they would typically announce in late October and pay in early November. 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: 22 Increases Expected By November 30