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Most casual income investors focus on current yield, which is important. However, if your objective as an income investor is to build a portfolio of securities with increasing income, then Yield-on-Cost is an excellent metric to measure your progress. Yield-on-Cost is simply the annual dividend rate times number of shares owned divided by what you paid for the investment (basis). As companies increase their dividend, your yield-on-cost goes up.

Working to increase their shareholders yield-on-cost, these companies recently announced higher cash dividend payments:

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) offers wireline, wireless and broadband services primarily in the northeastern United States. September 1st the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.6% to $0.50 per share. The dividend is payable on Nov. 1, 2011, to shareowners of record at the close of business on Oct. 7, 2011.

Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) owns, develops, operates, and franchises various restaurant brands primarily in the United States. August 29th the company increased its quarterly dividend 14% to $0.16 per share. The dividend is payable on Sept. 29, 2011 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 9, 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

Airgas, Inc. (ARG) distributes industrial, medical, and specialty gases, as well as hardgoods in the United States. August 29th the company increased its quarterly dividend 10% to $0.32 per share. The dividend will be payable on September 30, 2011 to shareholders of record as of September 15, 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 2.0%.

HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. (HCC) provides property and casualty, surety, group life, accident, and health insurance coverage. August 26th the company increased its quarterly dividend to 0.155 per share. The dividend is payable to stockholders of record on October 3, 2011 and will be paid on or about October 17, 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 2.1%.

WesBanco, Inc. (WSBC) operates as a holding company for WesBanco Bank, Inc. that provides various financial products and services. August 26th the company increased its quarterly dividend 6.7% to $0.16 per share. The dividend is payable on October 1, 2011 to shareholders of record on September 9, 2011. This is the second increase in the quarterly dividend rate this year and represents an annualized 14.3% increase in WesBanco's dividend during 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 3.3%.

G&K Services, Inc. (GKSR) provides branded work apparel and facility services programs in North America. August 26th the company increased its quarterly dividend 37% to $0.13 per share. The dividend is payable on September 29, 2011 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 22, 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 1.8%.

Altria Group, Inc. (MO) engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. August 26th the company increased it dividend 7.9% to $0.41 per share, The dividend is payable on October 11, 2011 to shareholders of record as of September 15, 2011. The ex-dividend date is September 13, 2011. The yield based on the new payout is 6.1%.

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. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.

Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

Source: 7 Dividend Stocks Building Higher Yield-On-Cost