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When evaluating a dividend stock, one of the criteria I look for is a rising dividend stream over time. I prefer to invest in companies which have consistently raised dividends for at least ten years in a row. I also examine the dividend record using as much historical data as available. I specifically look for prior dividend cuts, a pattern of significant dividend increases as well as a history of significant distribution payments.


Most importantly, I look for the trend in dividend payments to be higher each year. I have highlighted the following stocks, which have raised dividends for more than five years in a row and also announced distribution increases over the past week:

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE:KMP) owns and manages energy transportation and storage assets. This MLP raised its quarterly distributions to $1.14/unit. This dividend achiever has consistently raised distributions for fifteen years in a row. Yield: 6% (analysis)

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and marketing of various health care products worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Personal Care, Consumer Tissue, K-C Professional & Other, and Health Care. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 6.10% to 70 cents/share. This marked the 40th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend aristocrat. Yield: 4.20% (analysis)

Sonoco Products Company (NYSE:SON) provides industrial and consumer packaging products, and packaging services in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company raised its quarterly dividends by 3.60% to 29 cents/share. This marked the 28th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend champion. Yield: 3.30%

PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG) manufactures and supplies protective and decorative coatings. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 3.60% to 57 cents/share. This marked the 40th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend champion. Yield: 2.40% (analysis)

People’s United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:PBCT) operates as the bank holding company for People’s United Bank that provides commercial banking, retail and small business banking, and wealth management services to individual, corporate, and municipal customers. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 1.60% to 15.75 cents/share. This marked the 18th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend achiever. Yield: 4.90%

ONEOK Partners, L.P. (NYSE:OKS) engages in the gathering, processing, storage, and transportation of natural gas in the United States. This MLP raised quarterly distributions to $1.15/unit. ONEOK Partners has raised distributions for six consecutive years. Yield: 5.40%

Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE:WPZ), a diversified master limited partnership, focuses on transporting; gathering, treating, and processing; storing natural gas; and natural gas liquid fractionating and oil transporting activities. This MLP raised distributions to 71.75 cents/unit, which marked the seventh consecutive annual distribution increase. Yield: 5.30%

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is a utility company that generates, transmits, and distributes electricity through coal, nuclear, oil and gas, and hydro resources. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 3.90% to 47.25 cents/share. This marked the tenth consecutive annual dividend increase for Southern Company. Yield: 4.90%

NewMarket Corporation (NYSE:NEU), through its subsidiaries, engages in the petroleum additives and real estate development businesses. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 36.40% to 60 cents/share. This marked the seventh consecutive annual dividend increase for NewMarket. Yield: 1.50%

Successful investors know that the trend is your friend. I purchase stocks with rising dividend payments and hold on to them for as long as the dividend is at least maintained. I expect my holding period to last anywhere from a few years to a few decades on each stock I purchase.

Disclosure: Long Kinder Morgan and Kimberly-Clark

Source: 9 Income Stocks With Positive Dividend Trends