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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.

The Pace Quickens

The usual summer drop-off in the pace of dividend increase announcements seems to have passed, as can be seen by the number of Ex-Dividend Dates in November, 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. What stands out in this list is that seven of these companies are on the verge of their 10th straight year of higher dividends, which would result in promotion to Contender status.

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

Ticker

No.

8/31

Div.

MR%

LY

Ann.

Name

Symbol

Yrs

Price

Yield

Inc.

Ex-Div

Div.

Acme United Corp.

(ACU)

8

10.81

2.59

16.67

9/29/11

0.28

Accenture plc

(ACN)

7

61.60

2.19

50.00

10/7/11

1.35

Covidien plc

(COV)

5

56.05

1.61

12.50

10/11/11

0.90

Yum! Brands Inc.

(YUM)

8

63.72

1.79

14.00

10/12/11

1.14

Senior Housing Prop.

(SNH)

8

22.12

6.87

2.70

10/17/11

1.52

Epoch Holding Corp.

(EPHC)

5

21.06

1.52

33.33

10/26/11

0.32

ConAgra Foods Inc.

(CAG)

5

25.11

3.82

4.35

10/27/11

0.96

Texas Instruments

(TXN)

8

29.04

2.34

30.77

10/27/11

0.68

MSC Industrial Direct

(MSM)

9

69.30

1.44

13.64

11/2/11

1.00

Natural Resource Prtns

(NRP)

9

20.70

10.63

1.85

11/2/11

2.20

Microsoft Corp.

(MSFT)

7

30.82

2.60

25.00

11/15/11

0.80

Visa Inc.

(V)

5

128.25

0.69

46.67

11/16/11

0.88

Ame. Science and Eng.

(ASEI)

5

59.47

3.36

66.67

11/17/11

2.00

AmerisourceBergen

(ABC)

7

38.52

1.35

13.04

11/17/11

0.52

Evercore Partners Inc.

(EVR)

5

24.70

3.24

11.11

11/22/11

0.80

Perrigo Company

(PRGO)

9

109.97

0.29

14.29

11/22/11

0.32

Mesa Laboratories Inc.

(MLAB)

9

47.03

1.11

8.33

11/23/11

0.52

Hanover Insurance Gp

(THG)

7

35.69

3.36

9.09

11/25/11

1.20

Union Pacific

(UNP)

6

121.44

1.98

26.32

11/28/11

2.40

Aaron's Inc.

(AAN)

9

29.87

0.20

15.38

11/29/11

0.06

Lockheed Martin

(LMT)

9

91.14

4.39

33.33

11/29/11

4.00

TransAlta Corp.

(TAC)

6

15.11

7.83

5.81

11/29/11

1.18

American Equity Invest.

(AEL)

9

11.56

1.04

20.00

11/30/11

0.12

In addition, two "Near-Challengers" (with four years of increases) are likely to announce dividend increases, qualifying them as the newest Challengers:

Techne Corp.

(TECH)

11/3/11

HickoryTech Corp.

(HTCO)

11/11/11

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. I'm attaching the chart below (click to enlarge image):

Source: Dividend Challengers: 23 Increases Expected By The End Of November