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The companies in this analysis have been raising their dividends for more than 20 years. Here is my analysis of what investors should buy right now.

Eaton Vance Corp. (EV): The dividend has been increased for 31 consecutive years. The yield is 3.4% and the annual payout is $0.76. The quarterly payout was increased by 5.56% to $0.19 with the payout ratio at 43.18%. The growth rate over the last decade is 20.6%.

The stock has fallen more than 25% for the year and trades at a trailing price/earnings multiple of 12.7, trading at discount when compared with T. Rowe Price Group (TROW) at 18.2.

Investors should consider the stock and at the same time weigh the decline in earnings next year as its equity funds suffer (likely to happen as stock market volatility continues) against the company’s institutional platform and diverse range of products, which could offset the underperformance of the company’s equity funds.

If you can stomach the volatility, this stock is going for a song at the moment along with an opportunity to lock in the decent yield as well.

Emerson Electric (EMR): The dividend has been increased for 54 consecutive years. The yield is 3.4% and the annual payout is $1.38. The quarterly payout was increased by 2.99% to $0.3450 with the payout ratio at 42.59%. The growth rate over the last decade is 6.4%.

The stock is down about 15% for the year and trades at a trailing price/earnings multiple of 14.9. It’s trading at a premium against General Electric (GE), which trades at 11.4 times (trailing) along with a healthy 4.1% dividend yield.

At the current valuation, General Electric is a better option. Both companies will suffer from sluggish global demand though General Electric will suffer to a lesser degree. Its diverse range of profitable businesses should enable it to post low double digit gains next year.

Energen Corp. (EGN): The dividend has been increased for 29 consecutive years. The yield is 1.1% and the annual payout is $0.54. The quarterly payout was increased by 3.85% to $0.1350 with the payout ratio at 11.97%. The growth rate over the last decade is 4.5%.

The stock has risen about 5% for the year and trades at a trailing price/earnings multiple of 11.25. It’s selling at a discount against rivals Southern Company (SO) at 18 (trailing), Southwestern Energy (SWN) at 21.06 (trailing) and is on an equal footing with Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) at 11 (trailing).

The company has a diversified earnings base consisting of a low risk regulated utility operation mixed with a high risk oil and gas exploration/production operation. The balance sheet is strong enough to support growth through acquisitions and oil/gas field developments.

Investors may want to look elsewhere as the yield is a bit stingy when compared against industry peers.

ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM): The dividend has been increased for 29 consecutive years. The yield is 2.41% and the annual payout is $1.88. The quarterly payout was increased by 6.82% to $0.47 with the payout ratio at 22.71%. The growth rate over the last decade is 7.1%.

The stock is up about 10% for the year and along with its rivals, trades at single digit price/earnings multiples. Exxon trades at 9.63 (trailing), BP plc (BP) at 5.92 and Chevron Corporation (CVX) at 7.54.

At this valuation, this stock is a definite buy. The company’s diversified operations have produced superior earnings and dividend growth. This trend is set to continue going forward. There are a host of energy projects that have started up recently, which is encouraging.

Family Dollar Stores (FDO): The dividend has been increased for 35 consecutive years. The yield is 1.23% and the annual payout is $0.72. The quarterly payout was increased by a whopping 16.13% to $0.18 with the payout ratio at 23.08%. The growth rate over the last decade is 10.8%.

The stock has risen about 20% for the year and trades about 2% off its 52-week high. It currently trades at a trailing price/earnings multiple of 18.9, making it cheaper than Dollar Tree (DLTR) at 21.87 (trailing), Dollar General Corporation (DG) at 21.1 (trailing) and quite expensive against Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) at 12.4 (trailing).

Family Dollar should post between 10% to 12% growth for 2012 as its value priced merchandise and store remodels attract cost conscious consumers in this tough environment. At the current valuation, investors should give this stock a pass as Wal-Mart is the better option.

Source: 5 Excellent Stocks Raising Dividends For 20 Years Or More