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In compiling the Dividend Champions list (found here), 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.

T'is The Season

Most companies that operate on a calendar-year basis will hold their annual shareholder meetings in April or May, and that presents a great opportunity to announce dividend increases, especially in conjunction with earnings growth in the previous year. Although some have already made such announcements, there are still many corporations that typically raise their dividend between now and the end of June, which coincides with the "forward look" of about 11 weeks for this article.

I have 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 Challengers (5-9 years):

Company

Stock

No.

3/30

Div

LY%

LY

Ann.

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Inc.

Ex-Div

Div.

Coca-Cola FEMSA

(KOF)

8

105.91

1.86

70.23

4/22/11

1.97

Donegal Group Inc. A

(DGICA)

9

13.67

3.51

4.35

4/28/11

0.48

Donegal Group Inc. B

(DGICB)

9

17.89

2.40

4.88

4/28/11

0.43

Empresa Nacional de Elec.

(EOC)

8

53.98

3.83

34.57

5/3/11

2.07

StoneMor Partners LP

(STON)

7

24.36

9.61

1.74

5/4/11

2.34

Costco Wholesale

(COST)

8

90.80

1.06

17.07

5/11/11

0.96

Randgold Resources Ltd.

(GOLD)

5

87.98

0.23

17.65

5/11/11

0.20

Columbia Sportswear Co.

(COLM)

6

47.45

1.85

10.00

5/17/11

0.88

Assurant Inc.

(AIZ)

8

40.50

1.78

12.50

5/19/11

0.72

Northrop Grumman

(NOC)

8

61.08

3.27

6.38

5/26/11

2.00

Arch Coal Inc.

(ACI)

8

10.71

4.11

10.00

5/27/11

0.44

CSX Corp.

(CSX)

7

21.52

2.23

38.46

5/27/11

0.48

Suncor Energy Inc.

(SU)

6

32.70

1.33

13.54

6/1/11

0.44

Travelers Companies

(TRV)

7

59.20

2.77

13.89

6/8/11

1.64

Tower Group Inc.

(TWGP)

5

22.43

3.34

50.00

6/9/11

0.75

Chesapeake Utilities

(CPK)

8

41.12

3.36

4.55

6/13/11

1.38

Thomasville Bancshares

(OTCQB:THVB)

8

22.25

2.92

8.33

6/13/11

0.65

Tiffany & Company

(TIF)

9

69.13

1.68

16.00

6/16/11

1.16

Safeway Inc.

(SWY)

7

20.21

2.87

20.83

6/21/11

0.58

Xcel Energy

(XEL)

8

26.47

3.93

2.97

6/21/11

1.04

Birner Dental Management

(BDMS)

8

17.93

4.91

10.00

6/22/11

0.88

H.J.Heinz Co.

(HNZ)

8

53.55

3.59

6.67

6/22/11

1.92

Portland General Electric

(POR)

6

24.98

4.24

1.92

6/22/11

1.06

National Healthcare Corp.

(NHC)

8

45.56

2.63

7.14

6/28/11

1.20

Regal Beloit Corp.

(RBC)

7

65.55

1.10

5.88

6/29/11

0.72

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. I'm attaching the chart below.

Click to enlarge

Source: Dividend Challengers: 25 Increases Expected In The Next 11 Weeks