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If you're an income investor, the following list might offer an interesting starting point for your own analysis.

Below is a list of dividend champions - companies identified by the DrIP Investing Resource Center as those that have increased dividends for more than 25 consecutive years. From a universe of about 100 of those identified as dividend champions, we found eleven companies that have seen significantly rising operating cash flows during the most recent quarter.

Are you looking for income opportunities? If so, this list can offer a very interesting starting point. Look at the data below for guidance.

Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.



The list has been sorted by the change in operating cash flow.

1. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)
: Major Integrated Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $427.61B. Dividend yield at 2.07%. Operating CF grew by 47.73% (from $9.3B to $13.8B, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 3.22%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.49), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 32.81% over the last year.

2. Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP): Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration Industry. Market cap of $6.72B. Dividend yield at 0.38%. Operating CF grew by 40.83% (from $128.9M to $181.5M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 2.70%. The stock has had a good month, gaining 12.31%.

3. PPG Industries Inc. (PPG): Specialty Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $14.09B. Dividend yield at 2.5%. Operating CF grew by 20.98% (from $286M to $346M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 2.46%. The stock has gained 44.29% over the last year.

4. WGL Holdings Inc. (WGL)
: Gas Utilities Industry. Market cap of $1.92B. Dividend yield at 3.97%. Operating CF grew by 19.31% (from $81.5M to $97.3M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 5.08%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.25), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock is also a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.14% (equivalent to 10.44 days of average volume). The stock has gained 16.61% over the last year.

5. Energen Corp. (EGN):
Gas Utilities Industry. Market cap of $4.31B. Dividend yield at 0.89%. Operating CF grew by 16.04% (from $130.4M to $151.3M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 3.51%. The stock has gained 28.45% over the last year.

6. Questar Corporation (STR): Independent Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $3.10B. Dividend yield at 3.49%. Operating CF grew by 8.25% (from $104.3M to $112.9M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 3.65%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.79), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 29.91% over the last year.

7. Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED):
Diversified Utilities Industry. Market cap of $14.47B. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 4.84%, current ratio at 1.48, and quick ratio at 1.34. Operating CF grew by 7.23% (from $553M to $593M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 4.10%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.31), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 19.02% over the last year.

8. Target Corp. (TGT): Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $37.15B. Dividend yield at 1.91%. Operating CF grew by 6.86% (from $1.5B to $1.6B, comparing the 13 weeks ending 2010-01-30 vs. 13 weeks ending 2011-01-29). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 4.23%. The stock has gained 3.31% over the last year.

9. California Water Service Group (CWT): Water Utilities Industry. Market cap of $726.34M. Dividend yield at 3.5%. Operating CF grew by 5.76% (from $20.3M to $21.5M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 2.96%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.31), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 1.54% over the last year.

10. Vectren Corporation (VVC): Diversified Utilities Industry. Market cap of $2.16B. Dividend yield at 5.16%. Operating CF grew by 5.15% (from $116.4M to $122.4M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-12-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-12-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 5.67%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.43), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 17.63% over the last year.

11. Investors Real Estate Trust (IRET): REIT. Market cap of $734.54M. Dividend yield at 7.43%. Operating CF grew by 4.94% (from $31.8M to $33.3M, comparing the 3 months ending 2009-10-31 vs. 3 months ending 2010-10-31). MRQ Operating CF/Market Cap at 4.54%. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.38), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has gained 10.12% over the last year.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 11 Low Beta Dividend Champions With Rising Operating Cash Flow