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In a down-market when many people are rushing to buy gold, I take comfort that I already have mine. No, not that kind, but something much better! A growing stream of dividend income from solid companies. While everyone else is panicked about their portfolio’s decline, I see a downturn as an incredible buying opportunity. Lower prices, rising yields and growing dividends, its hard to beat that combination.

Below are several select companies that recently announced dividend increases:

Portland General Electric (NYSE:POR) is an integrated Oregon-based electric utility serving about 1.6 million people, approximately 43% of the state’s population. May 14th the company increases its quarterly dividend 2% to $0.26/share. The dividend is payable on or before July 15, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 25, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 23, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 5.29%.

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) is a specialty retailer of apparel and accessories, widely known for its emphasis on service, which operates about 193 stores in 28 states. May 18th the company raised its quarterly dividend 25% to $0.20/share. The dividend is payable on June 15, 2010, to shareholders of record on May 28, 2010. The ex-dividend date is May 26, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 2.10%.

First Financial (NASDAQ:THFF) provides various financial services from 48 branch offices in west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois. May 18th the company raised its semi-annual to $0.46/share. The dividend is payable on July 1, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business June 15, 2010. THFF is a Dividend Achiever and has raised its dividend for 22 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 3.08%.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) is the world’s third largest producer of military arms and equipment, and also has a large government IT services business. May 19th the company increased its quarterly dividend 9.3% to $0.47/share. The dividend is payable June 12, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business June 1, 2010. The ex-dividend date is May 28, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 3.02%.

ACE Limited (NYSE:ACE) provides commercial insurance and reinsurance for a diverse group of international clients. May 19th the company increased its quarterly dividend to $0.33/share. The yield based on the new payout is 2.59%.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) was created through the August 2000 merger of Northern States Power and New Century Energies. May 19th the company raised its quarterly dividend 3% to $0.2525/share. The dividend is payable July 20, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 24, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 22, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 4.82%.

Safeway (NYSE:SWY) is a major food retailer operating about 1,725 stores in the U.S. and Canada. May 19th the company raised its quarterly dividend 20% to $0.12/share. The dividend is payable on July 15, 2010, to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 24, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 22, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 2.09%.

Republic Bancorp (NASDAQ:RBCAA) provides banking, mortgage banking, and tax refund solutions to individuals and businesses in the United States. May 19th the company increased its quarterly dividend 8% to $0.143/share. The dividend is payable July 16, 2010 to shareholders of record as of June 18, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 16, 2010. RBCAA is a Dividend Achiever. The yield based on the new payout is 2.41%.

Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS) is the third largest marketer, bottler and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in North America. May 19th the company increased its quarterly dividend 67% to $0.25/share. The dividend is payable in on July 9, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 21, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 17. The yield based on the new payout is 2.72%.

Clorox (NYSE:CLX) this producer of household cleaning, grocery and specialty food products is also a leading producer of natural personal care products. May 19th the company increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.55/share. The dividend is payable Aug. 13, 2010, to stockholders of record on July 28, 2010. The ex-dividend date is July 26, 2010. CLX is a Dividend Aristocrat and has raised its dividend for 22 consecutive years. The yield based on the new payout is 3.50%.

Ship Finance (NYSE:SFL) owns an international fleet of crude oil tankers, which are leased under long-term, fixed-price charters. May 20th the company increased its quarterly dividend to $0.33/share. The yield based on the new payout is 7.84%.

Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) is a leading international retailer, designer, manufacturer, and distributor of fine jewelry and gift items. May 20th the company raised its quarterly dividend 25% to $0.25/share. The dividend is payable on on July 12, 2010 to stockholders of record on June 21, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 17. The yield based on the new payout is 2.39%.

Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE:CP) provides rail freight transportation over a network serving the principal centers of Canada, as well as the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. May 20th the company raised its quarterly dividend 9% to C$0.27/share. The increased dividend is payable on July 26, 2010, to holders of record at the close of business on June 25, 2010. The yield based on the new payout is 2%.

Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently increased their dividends, not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.

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

Source: 13 Dividend Stocks Raising Their Payouts and Yields