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The most important factor in successful dividend investing is creating a sustainable, growing income stream. By investing in companies that regularly increase their dividends faster than inflation, we ensure a rising income stream with greater buying power over time.

Inflation is currently running just below 4% in the USA, so we are looking for companies with long histories of increasing dividends, whose most recent dividend increase was greater than 4%. Here are 10 companies that fit that criteria.

Lancaster Colony Corp (LANC)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1963
  • Last Dividend Increase - 10%, November 2010
  • Current Yield - 2%

Lancaster Colony Corporation is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of consumer products focusing primarily on specialty foods for the retail and foodservice markets. The company also manufactures and markets candles for the food, drug and mass markets.

Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1963
  • Last Dividend Increase - 27%, May 2011
  • Current Yield - 2.6%

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a home improvement retailer. As of January 28, 2011, the Company operated 1,749 stores, consisted of 1,723 stores across 50 United States states and 24 stores in Canada and two in Mexico.

Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1964
  • Last Dividend Increase - 9.4%, February 2011
  • Current Yield - 2.6%

Colgate-Palmolive Company is a consumer products company. Colgate’s products are marketed in over 200 countries and territories. The company manages its business in two product segments: Oral, Personal and Home Care, and Pet Nutrition.

Nordson Corporation (NDSN)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1964
  • Last Dividend Increase - 19%, August 2011
  • Current Yield - 1%

Nordson Corporation is a manufacturer of equipment used for precision material dispensing, testing and inspection, surface preparation and curing. Its technology-based systems can be found in production facilities worldwide.

CLARCOR Inc. (CLC)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1965
  • Last Dividend Increase - 14%, September 2011
  • Current Yield - 1%

CLARCOR Inc. is a global provider of filtration products, filtration systems and services, and consumer and industrial packaging products. It conducts business in three principal industry segments: Engine/Mobile Filtration, Industrial/Environmental Filtration, and Packaging.

Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1967
  • Last Dividend Increase - 21%, November 2010
  • Current Yield - 1.7%

Hormel Foods Corporation is engaged in the production of a range of meat and food products and the marketing of those products throughout the United States and internationally. The company operates in five segments: Grocery Products, Refrigerated Foods, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Specialty Foods, and All Other.

Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1968
  • Last Dividend Increase - 21%, February 2011
  • Current Yield - 2.5%

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. provides hand tools, mechanical access solutions, and electronic security solutions to businesses and consumers worldwide.

Target Corporation (TGT)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1968
  • Last Dividend Increase - 20%, June 2011
  • Current Yield - 2.3%

Target Corporation operates Target general merchandise stores with an assortment of general merchandise and food.

H.B. Fuller Company (FUL)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1970
  • Last Dividend Increase - 7%, April 2011
  • Current Yield - 1.4%

H.B. Fuller Company is a formulator, manufacturer and marketer of adhesives, sealants, paints and other specialty chemical products. H.B. Fuller's sales operations span 39 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia Pacific region, India, the Middle East and Africa.

The Coca Cola Company (KO)

  • Annual Dividend Raises Since - 1963
  • Last Dividend Increase - 6.8%, February 2011
  • Current Yield - 2.8%

The Coca-Cola Company is a non-alcoholic beverage company. The company owns or licenses and markets more than 500 non-alcoholic beverage brands, primarily sparkling beverages but also a variety of still beverages such as waters, enhanced waters, juices and juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, and energy and sports drinks.

This list provides general information, not individually targeted personalized advice. Investors should assess for themselves whether the advice is appropriate to their individual investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs before making any investment decision.

Source: 40 Years Of Dividend Growth And Still Outpacing Inflation - 10 Top Companies