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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here: http://dripinvesting.org/Tools/Tools.asp ) 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.

Accelerated Dividends Redux

As mentioned last 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, which coincides with the usual "forward look" of about 11 weeks for this article, includes a special notation for those raises, the # symbol. For some of those companies, a "worst case" scenario would simply be that they move to the "overdue" list - temporarily - while they return to a more normal first-quarter increase pattern.

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 Contenders (10-24 years):

Company

Ticker

No.

9/30

Div.

MR%

LY

Ann.

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Inc.

Ex-Div

Div.

Northeast Indiana Banc

(OTCQB:NIDB)

18

21.00

3.62

5.56

11/2/12

0.76

MSC Industrial Direct #

(NYSE:MSM)

10

81.35

1.48

20.00

11/5/12

1.20

Teva Pharmaceutical

(NYSE:TEVA)

13

37.78

2.74

14.76

11/13/12

1.03

StanCorp Financial Gp

(NYSE:SFG)

14

55.02

1.69

4.49

11/20/12

0.93

Matthews International

(NASDAQ:MATW)

18

38.08

1.05

11.11

11/21/12

0.40

Perrigo Company

(NYSE:PRGO)

10

123.38

0.29

12.50

11/27/12

0.36

Mesa Laboratories Inc.

(NASDAQ:MLAB)

10

67.61

0.83

7.69

11/28/12

0.56

Aaron's Inc.

(NYSE:AAN)

10

27.70

0.25

13.33

11/29/12

0.07

Arrow Financial Corp.

(NASDAQ:AROW)

19

25.39

3.86

2.00

11/29/12

0.98

Chesapeake Financial

(OTCQB:CPKF)

20

19.25

2.49

9.09

11/29/12

0.48

Westwood Holdings Gp

(NYSE:WHG)

11

48.05

3.33

8.11

11/29/12

1.60

Erie Indemnity Co. #

(NASDAQ:ERIE)

22

72.47

3.27

7.24

12/5/12

2.37

Canadian National Rail

(NYSE:CNI)

16

101.37

1.48

14.28

12/6/12

1.50

Nike Inc.

(NYSE:NKE)

10

72.64

1.16

16.67

12/6/12

0.84

South Jersey Industries

(NYSE:SJI)

14

58.58

3.02

9.94

12/6/12

1.77

UMB Financial Corp. #

(NASDAQ:UMBF)

21

54.34

1.58

4.88

12/6/12

0.86

Vector Group Ltd.

(NYSE:VGR)

15

16.10

9.46

5.00

12/6/12

1.52

First Keystone Corp.

(OTCQB:FKYS)

12

26.75

3.89

4.00

12/7/12

1.04

Laclede Group Inc.

(NYSE:LG)

10

45.00

3.78

2.41

12/7/12

1.70

Farmers & Merchants

(OTCQB:FMCB)

15

415.00

2.99

3.33

12/10/12

12.40

MDU Resources

(NYSE:MDU)

22

27.97

2.47

2.99

12/11/12

0.69

First Financial Corp.

(NASDAQ:THFF)

24

31.57

3.04

2.13

12/12/12

0.96

Prosperity Bancshares

(NYSE:PB)

14

61.84

1.39

10.26

12/12/12

0.86

C.H. Robinson W'wide #

(NASDAQ:CHRW)

16

59.59

2.35

6.06

12/13/12

1.40

JB Hunt Transport #

(NASDAQ:JBHT)

10

72.93

0.82

7.14

12/13/12

0.60

Lincoln Electric Hdgs #

(NASDAQ:LECO)

18

66.62

1.20

17.65

12/13/12

0.80

Linear Technology #

(NASDAQ:LLTC)

21

39.66

2.62

4.00

12/13/12

1.04

Ecolab Inc. #

(NYSE:ECL)

21

98.76

0.93

15.00

12/14/12

0.92

Minden Bancorp Inc. #

(OTCQB:MDNB)

11

16.75

2.03

13.33

12/19/12

0.34

Roper Industries Inc. #

(NYSE:ROP)

20

132.87

0.50

20.00

12/19/12

0.66

Bank of Utica #

(OTCQB:BKUT)

13

435.10

2.46

10.31

12/20/12

10.70

Lyons Bancorp Inc. #

(OTCQB:LYBC)

13

37.00

3.35

3.33

12/26/12

1.24

Axis Capital Holdings Ltd.

(NYSE:AXS)

11

43.31

2.31

4.17

12/27/12

1.00

Edison International

(NYSE:EIX)

10

46.06

2.93

3.85

12/27/12

1.35

Stryker Corp.

(NYSE:SYK)

20

67.59

1.57

24.71

12/27/12

1.06

York Water Company

(NASDAQ:YORW)

16

20.07

2.76

3.52

12/27/12

0.55

Andersons Inc. (The)

(NASDAQ:ANDE)

11

69.90

0.92

6.67

12/28/12

0.64

MR=Most Recent; LY=Last Year; #=Accelerated Payment in 2012

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 Contenders: 37 Increases Possible By New Year's Eve