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

Happy Holidays

In this article, I'm modifying the Expected Increase series to reflect a more reader-friendly format by separating the Champions, Contenders and Challengers into distinct groupings, so please look for the other lists, which I hope will be published about the same time. Before year-end, I hope to see no less than four of these companies declare their 10th straight year of increases, resulting in graduation to Contender status, led by Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Landauer (NYSE:LDR).

Based on last year's announcements, I'm expecting the following companies to announce dividend increases between now and the Ex-Dividend Date of their previous increase:

Dividend Challengers (5-9 years):



No.

9/30



LY%

LY

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Rate

Inc.

Ex-Div

Noble Corp.

(NYSE:NE)

7

29.35

1.84

0.1347

2.51

11/4/10

Strayer Education Inc.

(NASDAQ:STRA)

7

76.67

5.22

1.0000

33.33

11/24/10

Aaron's Inc.

(NYSE:AAN)

6

25.25

0.21

0.0130

8.33

11/29/10

TransAlta Corp.

(NYSE:TAC)

5

21.77

5.14

0.2795

8.12

11/29/10

Nike Inc.

(NKE)

9

85.51

1.45

0.3100

14.81

12/2/10

DeVry Inc.

(NYSE:DV)

5

36.96

0.65

0.1200

20.00

12/8/10

Laclede Group Inc.

(NYSE:LG)

8

38.75

4.18

0.4050

2.53

12/8/10

Landauer Inc.

(LDR)

9

49.54

4.44

0.5500

2.23

12/8/10

J&J Snack Foods Corp.

(NASDAQ:JJSF)

7

48.05

0.98

0.1175

9.30

12/13/10

Campbell Soup Co.

(NYSE:CPB)

7

32.37

3.58

0.2900

5.45

12/23/10

Axis Capital Holdings Ltd.

(NYSE:AXS)

9

25.94

3.55

0.2300

9.52

12/29/10

Edison International

(NYSE:EIX)

8

38.25

3.35

0.3200

1.59

12/29/10

Andersons Inc. (The)

(NASDAQ:ANDE)

9

33.63

1.31

0.1100

22.22

12/30/10

OGE Energy Corp.

(NYSE:OGE)

5

47.79

3.14

0.3750

3.45

1/6/11

In addition, I anticipate that several companies in the Appendix (on the Note tab) will boost their dividends during this period, marking their fifth straight year of increases and promoting them to Challenger status.

About two dozen MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships) – Contenders and Challengers - are also likely to increase their payouts again, as they tend to do each quarter, in late October or early November.

Not all of the above companies will meet the strict standards of every investor, but some may be appropriate for portfolio diversification. Potential investors should do more research before committing funds.

Disclosure: I am long EIX.

Source: Dividend Challengers: 14 Increases Expected By The First Week Of January