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I am not a stock trader; I am a dividend and value based long-term buy-and-hold investor. When I add a stock to my dividend portfolio, it is my intention to hold the stock forever. I am not smart enough to time the daily gyrations of the stock market. When stock prices start dropping, our primal instinct of flight kicks in and we want to sell. In many cases that is the time to be buying.

However, sometimes selling a stock is the right thing to do. In determining when to sell a dividend stock, I have one hard and fast rule: When an individual stock held as a dividend investment lowers its dividend, immediately sell it.

Below are several companies making the case not to be sold by raising their cash dividends:

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) explores and produces for crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2013, the company had approximately 37,661 gross and 31,823 net operated wells. April 30th the company increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.69 per share. The dividend is payable June 10, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 13, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.7%.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) is engaged in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. April 30th the company increased its quarterly dividend 7% to $1.07 per share. The dividend is payable June 10, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 19, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 3.4%.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL) operates full-service restaurants, which provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. April 30th the company increased its quarterly dividend 33% to $1.00per share. The dividend is payable August 5, 2014 to stockholders of record on July 18, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 4.2%.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. April 29th the company increased its quarterly dividend 17% to $0.35 per share. The dividend is payable June 1, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 9, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. April 29th the company increased its quarterly dividend 16% to $1.10 per share. The dividend is payable June 10, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 9, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.2%.

BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) operates as a financial holding company that provides various banking and trust services for retail and commercial clients. April 29th the company increased its quarterly dividend 4.3% to $0.24 per share. The dividend is payable June 2, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 16, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.6%.

Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE:AMP) provides a range of financial products and services in the United States and internationally. April 28th the company increased its quarterly dividend 11.5% to $0.58 per share. The dividend is payable May 23, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 9, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.1%.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:PFG) provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. April 24th the company increased its quarterly dividend 14% to $0.32 per share. The dividend is payable June 27, 2014 to stockholders of record on June 9, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

Lexmark International, Inc. (NYSE:LXK) operates as a developer, manufacturer, and supplier of printing, imaging, device management, managed print services (MPS), document workflow and business process. April 24th the company increased its quarterly dividend 20% to $0.36 per share. The dividend is payable June 13, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 30, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 3.5%.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. April 24th the company increased its quarterly dividend 6% to $0.70 per share. The dividend is payable June 10, 2014 to stockholders of record on May 27, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently raised their dividends; it is not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock.

Disclosure: Long XOM, CVX, JNJ in my Dividend Growth Portfolio. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

Source: 10 Stocks Raising Dividends And Expectations