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What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were looking at big-name dividend cuts and very few increases. Last week’s 16 increases set the stage for this week’s flood of companies, large and small, raising cash dividends paid to their shareholders.

Here is a list of notable participants:

Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) banks provide services to individuals and businesses via 217 branches and 404 ATMs in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado. On February 5th the company increased its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.235/share. The dividend is payable on March 26, 2010, to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 10, 2010. The ex-dividend date is March 8. CBSH is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 42 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 2.49%.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP) engages in the interstate transportation and storage of natural gas. On February 5th the company bumped its quarterly distribution to $0.50/unit. The distribution is payable on February 22, 2010, to unitholders of record as of February 15, 2010. The ex-distribution date is February 11, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 6.66%.

Temple-Inland (NYSE:TIN) is a major producer of corrugated containers and containerboard. On February 5th the company boosted its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.11/share. The dividend is payable March 15, 2010, to shareholders of record March 1, 2010. The ex-dividend date is Feb 25th. The yield based on the new payout is 2.59%.

Compass Minerals (NYSE:CMP) produces salt for highway deicing and general trade. On February 8th the company raised its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.39/share. The dividend is payable March 15, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 1, 2010. The ex-dividend date is February 25, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 2.39%.

Mercury General (NYSE:MCY) is an insurance holding company operating primarily in California. On February 8th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2% to $0.59/share. The dividend is to be paid on March 31, 2010 to shareholders of record on March 16, 2010. The ex-dividend date is March 12, 2010. MCY is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 23 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 6.10%.

Jack Henry (NASDAQ:JKHY) provides integrated computer systems, software and services addressing the information technology and data processing needs of banks and credit unions. On February 8th the company bumped its quarterly dividend 12% to $0.095/share. The cash dividend on its common stock, par value $.01 per share, is payable on March 9, 2010, to stockholders of record as of February 24, 2010. The ex-dividend date is February 22. JKHY is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 18 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 1.77%.

United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) is an aerospace-industrial conglomerate with a portfolio including Pratt & Whitney jet engines, Sikorsky helicopters, Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioners, among other products. On February 8th the company boosted its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.425/share. The dividend is payable March 10 to share owners of record at the close of business Feb. 19. The ex-dividend date is Feb. 17. UTX is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 18 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 2.60%. [Analysis]

Owens & Minor (NYSE:OMI) is a leading domestic distributor of medical and surgical supplies to the acute care market. On February 8th the company raised its quarterly dividend 15% to $0.265/share. The record date for the stock split and the cash dividend is March 15, 2010. The cash dividend will be payable on March 31, 2010. OMI is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 11 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 2.15%.

Nu Skin (NYSE:NUS) develops and distributes personal care products and nutritional supplements. On February 9th the company increased its quarterly dividend 9% to $0.125/share. The dividend will be paid on March 17, 2010, to shareholders of record on Feb. 26, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 1.93%.

Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) is the world’s leading direct marketer of cosmetics, toiletries, fashion jewelry, and fragrances, with more than 5 million sales representatives worldwide. On February 9th the company bumped its quarterly dividend 5% to $0.22/share. The dividend is payable March 1, 2010, to shareholders of record February 23, 2010. The ex-dividend date is February 19, 2010. AVP is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 21 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 3.00%.

Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) is a utility holding company serves Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire. On February 9th the company raised its quarterly dividend to $0.25625/share. The dividend is payable March 31, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 1, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 4.06%.

American Science and Engineering (NASDAQ:ASEI) develops, manufactures, markets, and sells X-ray and other inspection solutions primarily for homeland security markets. On February 9th the company increased its quarterly dividend to $0.30/share. The dividend is payable on March 4, 2010 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 22, 2010. The ex-dividend date is February 18, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 1.61%.

Corporate Executive Board (EXBD) provides corporate executives and professionals with the insights and resources necessary to excel in their roles and to drive corporate performance. On February 9th the company bumped its quarterly dividend to $0.11/share. The yield based on the new payout is 2.01%.

3M (NYSE:MMM) has operations in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety and security and other markets. On February 9th the company boosted its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.525/share. The dividend is payable on March 12, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 19, 2010. The ex-dividend date is February 17, 2010. MMM is a Dividend Aristocrat and has raised its dividend for 52 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 2.62%.

Infinity Property and Casualty (NASDAQ:IPCC) provides, through its subsidiaries, personal automobile insurance with a concentration on nonstandard auto insurance. On February 9th the company raised its quarterly dividend 17% to $0.14/share. The dividend is payable on March 26, 2010 to holders of record on March 12, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 1.47%.

Wyndham (NYSE:WYN) operations include the sale of interests in vacation ownership resorts; facilitating the exchange and rental of access to vacation properties; and the franchising of hotels. On February 10th the company bumped its quarterly dividend to $0.12/share. The yield based on the new payout is 2.12%.

Sigma-Aldrich (NASDAQ:SIAL) makes and sells a wide range of biochemicals, organic chemicals, and chromatography products. On February 10th the company raised its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.155/share. SIAL is a Dividend Aristocrat and has raised its dividend for 34 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 1.33%.

CSX (NYSE:CSX) a major U.S. rail network, transporting bulk commodities, industrial products and intermodal containers. On February 10th the company boosted its quarterly dividend 9% to $0.24/share. The dividend is payable on March 15, 2010 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 26, 2010. The ex-dividend date is Feb. 24. The yield based on the new payout is 2.13%.

Diebold (NYSE:DBD) develops, makes, and services self-service transaction systems, electronic and physical security systems. On February 11th the company raised its quarterly dividend 4% to $0.27/share. The dividend is payable on Monday, March 8, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Monday, Feb. 22. The ex-dividend date is Feb. 18. DBD is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 57 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 3.87%.

SCANA Corp. (NYSE:SCG) provides electric, natural gas, and telecommunications services. On February 11th the company increased its quarterly dividend 1.1% to $0.475/share. The dividend is payable April 1, 2010 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 10, 2010. The ex-dividend date is March 8, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 5.43%.

First quarter is an exciting time for dividend growth investors as many companies elect to announce their annual dividend increases during this time. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.

Full Disclosure: Long MMM, UTX. See a list of all my income holdings here.

Source: 20 Dividend Stocks Riding the Wave of Dividend Increases