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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here: http://dripinvesting.org/Tools/Tools.asp ) I get to see which companies are nearing the anniversaries of their previous dividend increases. Since most of these firms raise their payout about the same time every year, I can say with some confidence that they are likely to do so again.

New Year, New Opportunities

As mentioned in the most recent installments in this series, I've modified the schedule to aim for a three- to four-week frequency. Monthly articles allowed some increases to “slip through the cracks” and publishing the listings twice each month seems a tad too frequent, with too many companies carried over and not enough being “checked off,” so I hope the current scheduling works better.

I have also modified the Expected Increase series to reflect a more SA-friendly format by separating the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers into distinct groupings, so please look for the other articles, which I hope will be published about the same time.

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

Dividend Champions (25 or more years):

No.

12/30

%

Company

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

New

Inc.

Ex-Div

California Water Service

(NYSE:CWT)

44

18.26

3.37

0.1538

3.36

2/3/11

SJW Corp.

(NYSE:SJW)

44

23.64

2.92

0.1725

1.47

2/3/11

HCP Inc.

(NYSE:HCP)

26

41.43

4.63

0.4800

3.23

2/8/11

Bemis Company

(NYSE:BMS)

28

30.08

3.19

0.2400

4.35

2/11/11

Black Hills Corp.

(NYSE:BKH)

41

33.58

4.35

0.3650

1.39

2/11/11

Energen Corp.

(NYSE:EGN)

29

50.00

1.08

0.1350

3.85

2/11/11

Consolidated Edison

(NYSE:ED)

37

62.03

3.87

0.6000

0.84

2/14/11

3M Company

(NYSE:MMM)

53

81.73

2.69

0.5500

4.76

2/16/11

Diebold Inc.

(NYSE:DBD)

58

30.07

3.72

0.2800

3.70

2/16/11

Pitney Bowes Inc.

(NYSE:PBI)

29

18.54

7.98

0.3700

1.37

2/16/11

McGraw-Hill Companies

(MHP)

38

44.97

2.22

0.2500

6.38

2/22/11

Sherwin-Williams Co.

(NYSE:SHW)

33

89.27

1.64

0.3650

1.39

2/23/11

Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

(NASDAQ:SIAL)

35

62.46

1.15

0.1800

12.50

2/25/11

Stanley Black & Decker

(NYSE:SWK)

44

67.60

2.43

0.4100

20.59

2/28/11

Kimberly-Clark Corp.

(NYSE:KMB)

39

73.56

3.81

0.7000

6.06

3/2/11

Old Republic Int'l

(NYSE:ORI)

30

9.27

7.55

0.1750

1.45

3/2/11

Tootsie Roll Industries

(NYSE:TR)

46

23.67

1.35

0.0800

3.00

3/4/11

Genuine Parts Co.

(NYSE:GPC)

55

61.20

2.94

0.4500

9.76

3/9/11

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

(NYSE:WMT)

37

59.76

2.44

0.3650

20.66

3/9/11

Coca-Cola Company

(NYSE:KO)

49

69.97

2.69

0.4700

6.82

3/11/11

Family Dollar Stores

(NYSE:FDO)

35

57.66

1.25

0.1800

16.13

3/11/11

Telephone & Data Sys.

(NYSE:TDS)

37

25.89

1.82

0.1175

4.44

3/15/11

Chubb Corp.

(NYSE:CB)

46

69.22

2.25

0.3900

5.41

3/16/11

Piedmont Natural Gas

(NYSE:PNY)

33

33.98

3.41

0.2900

3.57

3/23/11

Raven Industries

(NASDAQ:RAVN)

25

61.90

1.16

0.1800

12.50

3/29/11

Air Products & Chem.

(NYSE:APD)

29

85.19

2.72

0.5800

18.37

3/30/11

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.

Every Picture Tells a Story

As a bonus, I'm inserting one of Chuck Carnevale's F.A.S.T. Graphs below, highlighting one of the companies listed above. When the stock's price line has moved into the green area, it indicates that the stock is undervalued in relation to its earnings. This was a toss-up between Stanley Black & Decker and Wal-Mart, which had similar yields and last-year increases.

click to enlarge

Source: Dividend Champions: 26 Increases Expected By March 30