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You can’t spend earnings! At first glance, this seems like an odd statement, possibly even incorrect. However, it is not only correct, but an important axiom for all types of investors. Through fraud and manipulation financial statements can be made to look quite impressive, but the cash that arrives in your brokerage account is real.

An increasing cash dividend keeps pressure on management to ensure the company is well run. If there are too many missteps, eventually the dividend will slip. Here are several stocks where management recently met the challenge by raising their cash dividends:

New Jersey Resources (NYSE:NJR) supplies gas to more than 478,000 customers in central and northern New Jersey. On December 1st the company increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.34/share. The dividend will be paid January 4, 2010 to shareholders of record on December 15, 2009. The ex-dividend date is December 11, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 3.78%.

Toro Co. (NYSE:TTC) makes, and markets outdoor maintenance and beautification products for home, recreation, and commercial landscapes. On December 2nd the company raised its quarterly dividend 20% to $0.18/share. The dividend is payable on January 12, 2010 to shareholders of record on December 18, 2009. The ex-dividend date is December 16, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 1.77%.

Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ:LECO) manufactures arc welding products, robotic welding systems, and oxyfuel cutting equipment. On December 2nd the company boosted its dividend 3.7% to $0.28/share. The dividend is payable January 15, 2010, to shareholders of record on December 31, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 2.02%.

Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) transports crude oil and other liquid hydrocarbons; and engages in gas utility operations that serve residential, commercial, industrial customers in Canada. On December 2nd the company increased its quarterly dividend 15% to $0.425/share. The dividend is payable on March 1, 2010 to shareholders of record on February 15, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 3.67%.

Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE) the largest minimill steelmaker in the U.S. with one of the most diverse product lines of any steelmaker in the Americas. On December 2nd the company raised its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.36/share. The dividend is payable on February 11, 2010 to stockholders of record on December 31, 2009. The ex-dividend date is December 29, 2009. Yield on the dividend is 3.2%. NUE is a Dividend Achiever and has increased its dividend for 36 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 3.29%.

Universal Health Realty Income Trust (NYSE:UHT) is a real estate investment trust invests in healthcare and human service related facilities. On December 2nd the company boosts its quarterly dividend to $0.60/share. The dividend will be paid on December 31, 2009 to shareholders of record as of December 16, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 7.86%.

Hillenbrand (NYSE:HI) manufactures and sells gasketed caskets made of carbon steel, stainless steel, copper & bronze; offers a cremation marketing system for funeral service professionals. On December 2nd the company increased its quarterly Dividend to $0.1875/share. The dividend is payable December 31, 2009, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 17, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 3.94%.

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is the largest U.S. cable multiple system operator (MSO), as well as a provider of cable programming content. On December 3rd the company jumped its annual dividend 40% to $0.378/share. The dividend is payable on January 27, 2010 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on January 6, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 2.38%.

Cameco Corporation (NYSE:CCJ) explores, develops, mines, refines, converts, and fabricates uranium for sale as fuel for generating electricity in nuclear power reactors in Canada and globally. On December 3rd the company increased its annual dividend 17% to $0.28/share. The company’s board of directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per common share, payable on January 15, 2010 to shareholders of record on December 31, 2009. The yield based on the new payout is 0.71%.

OGE Energy (NYSE:OGE) delivers and manages electricity and natural gas primarily in the south central United States. On December 3, the company raised its annual dividend to $1.45/share. The dividend will be paid Jan. 29, 2010, to shareowners of record Jan. 8, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 4.05%.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) is the leading worldwide marketer of cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance products and services for the hospitality, institutional and industrial markets. On December 3rd the company boosted its quarterly 11% to $0.155/share. The dividend will be paid January 15, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 15, 2009. The ex-dividend date is December 11, 2009. ECL is a Dividend Achiever and has increased its dividend for 18 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 1.37%.

Earnings can be manufactured, cash can not. One sign of a company’s ability to generate cash is an ever-increasing dividend. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive dividend increases, see this list.

Full Disclosure: Long NUE. See a list of all my income holdings here.

Source: 11 Dividend Stocks that Show You the Money