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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here) I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, I can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again.

New Format

My previous articles in this series were generally published just after mid-month and included companies with Ex-Dividend Dates in the following month. However, as some commenters noted, this led to a few companies “falling through the cracks” because they had Ex-Dividend Dates in the month after that, but announced increases several weeks in advance. So, beginning with this article, I am going to switch from a monthly format to a twice-monthly one and extend the forward look to a period of about eight weeks. I expect to submit these articles on about the 7th through 10th of the month and again about two weeks later, dropping companies that have announced their next dividend (whether or not it has increased) and adding companies at the “back end” of the time period. This will lead to some carry-over in the listings, but should help to avoid having companies failing to be mentioned simply because they fall in between monthly articles. Based on last year's announcements, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases between now and the anniversary of their previous increase:

Dividend Champions (25 or more years):

No.

3/31

Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

H.B. Fuller Company

FUL

41

21.48

1.30

0.0700

2.94

4/27/10

Procter & Gamble Co.

PG

54

61.60

3.13

0.4818

9.50

4/28/10

W.W. Grainger Inc.

GWW

39

137.68

1.57

0.5400

17.39

5/6/10

ExxonMobil Corp.

XOM

28

84.13

2.09

0.4400

4.76

5/11/10

Sonoco Products Co.

SON

27

36.23

3.09

0.2800

3.70

5/12/10

Mine Safety Appliances

MSA

39

36.67

2.73

0.2500

4.17

5/20/10

NACCO Industries

NC

25

110.67

1.89

0.5225

0.97

5/27/10

Weyco Group Inc.

WEYS

29

24.46

2.62

0.1600

6.67

5/27/10

Johnson & Johnson

JNJ

48

59.25

3.65

0.5400

10.20

5/28/10

PepsiCo Inc.

PEP

38

64.41

2.98

0.4800

6.67

6/2/10

Dividend Contenders (10-24 years):

No.

3/31

Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

People's United Fin'l

PBCT

17

12.58

4.93

0.1550

6.90

4/29/10

Tompkins Financial

TMP

24

41.55

3.27

0.3400

10.00

5/5/10

Int'l Business Machines

IBM

15

163.07

1.59

0.6500

18.18

5/6/10

Franklin Electric Co.

FELE

18

46.20

1.13

0.1300

4.00

5/11/10

Chevron Corp.

CVX

23

107.49

2.68

0.7200

5.88

5/17/10

Southside Bancshares

SBSI

16

21.40

3.18

0.1700

5.00

5/25/10

Factset Research Sys.

FDS

12

104.73

0.88

0.2300

15.00

5/26/10

Expeditors International

EXPD

16

50.15

0.80

0.2000

5.26

5/27/10

Cullen/Frost Bankers

CFR

17

59.02

3.05

0.4500

4.65

5/28/10

Imperial Oil Ltd.

IMO

18

51.07

0.85

0.1090

14.74

6/1/10

Dividend Challengers (5-9 years):

No.

3/31

Qtrly

LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

Empresa Nacional/Elec

EOC

7

55.62

2.77

0.7690

45.64

4/29/10

Donegal Group Inc. A

DGICA

8

13.37

3.44

0.1150

2.22

4/29/10

Donegal Group Inc. B

DGICB

8

16.75

2.45

0.1025

2.50

4/29/10

Southern Company

SO

9

38.11

4.78

0.4550

4.00

4/29/10

Ameriprise Financial Inc.

AMP

6

61.08

1.18

0.1800

5.88

5/5/10

Costco Wholesale

COST

7

73.32

1.12

0.2050

13.89

5/5/10

AmeriGas Partners LP

APU

6

48.06

5.87

0.7050

5.22

5/6/10

United Community Bp

UCBA

5

7.25

6.07

0.1100

10.00

5/10/10

BOK Financial Corp.

BOKF

6

51.68

1.93

0.2500

4.17

5/12/10

Assurant Inc.

AIZ

7

38.51

1.66

0.1600

6.67

5/20/10

Analog Devices Inc.

ADI

8

39.38

2.23

0.2200

10.00

5/26/10

Northrop Grumman

NOC

7

62.71

3.00

0.4700

9.30

5/27/10

Arch Coal Inc.

ACI

7

36.04

1.11

0.1000

11.11

5/27/10

Knight Transportation

KNX

7

19.25

1.25

0.0600

20.00

6/2/10

Suncor Energy Inc.

SU

5

44.84

0.88

0.0990

6.45

6/2/10

There may be other companies that announce increases in the coming weeks, such as those that increase the payout on a quarterly or irregular basis. (Companies generally make dividend declarations anywhere from two days to six weeks before the Ex-Dividend Date.) Not all of these companies will meet the strict standards of every investor, but they may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. Potential investors should do more research before committing funds.

The Flip Side

Next week, I plan to submit an article listing companies whose latest dividend increase might be considered “overdue.” In other words, these will be companies that have gone more than a year since their previous increase, something that might be considered a sign that the dividend (or at least the streak of increases) is in danger. (Note that the dates for these companies appears in Red in the Dividend Champions spreadsheet and PDF.) Of course, some companies regularly go more than a year between increases, so the anticipated listing may only be an “early warning” sign that some of the companies listed may be worthy of concern.

I hope that next week's article will help to augment David Van Knapp's new series about possible “Dividends in Danger,” and could become a regular series. As we get closer to year-end, such a listing will act as a dividend streak “death watch,” since it will equate to a listing of companies that will be deleted if they fail to increase the dividend in 2011, making the payout unchanged from that of 2010.

Disclosure: I am long PG, XOM, JNJ, PEP, COST, ACI.