Dividend Challengers (And Near-Challengers): 69 Increases Expected By February 28

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Includes: AGCO, AIT, AIV, ALE, ALK, ALL, ALX, APOG, BAH, BAM, BORT, BPFH, BPY, BSRR, BUSE, CLDB, COLB, CVLY, EMCF, EPR, FBIZ, FBVA, FCCO, FDEF, FIBK, FLIR, FORR, GBNK, GLW, HBI, HOG, HTBK, IPG, KALU, LMNR, MCO, MINI, MKTX, NATI, NI, NSEC, NWBI, NXST, OGS, OPOF, OTTR, OVLY, PFE, PFLC, POWI, PRU, RUTH, SFBC, SMP, SNI, SPB, SSB, TBNK, TSBK, UBOH, UNB, UPS, VLO, VMC, WAFD, WEN, WFBI, WTFC, XYL
by: David Fish

Summary

Three companies Graduate to Contender status, 12 new Challengers to be added.

Wide diversity and strong dividend growth featured.

February boasts the most dividend increases.

In compiling the Dividend Champions list, 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. I have separated the Champions (25 or more years of higher dividends), Contenders (10-24 years), and Challengers (5-9 years) into distinct groupings, so please look for the other articles, which I hope will be published about the same time. Note that "CCC" refers to the combination of Champions, Contenders, and Challengers.

Dividend Growth Activity Accelerates

Except for a holiday lull, the pace of dividend-increase announcements should continue to surge as the fourth quarter of 2017 gives way to the first quarter of 2018, those being the busiest quarters for such activity. The number of announcements for all Champions, Contenders, Challengers, and Near-Challengers expected in the next 11 weeks rises to 109 now, from 94 last month, which was down from 146 in my mid-October articles. (Those numbers are still below the 186 during the busiest season, around Groundhog Day 2017, so we should see another surge next month.) As mentioned previously, 2018 should be a banner year for new Champions, as there are more than a dozen companies with current streaks of 24 years, while the Contenders will be replenished by a similar number of companies adding to their current 9-year streaks.

The table below coincides with the usual "forward look" of about 11 weeks for this article. 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. 11/30/17 Div. MR% LY Annual DGR
Name Symbol Yrs Price Yield Inc. Ex-Div Dividend 5-yr
Limoneira Company LMNR 9 25.36 0.87 10.00 12/22/16 0.22 9.9
Farmers Bankshares Inc. FBVA 6 21.00 1.90 25.00 12/30/16 0.40 n/a
Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. CVLY 7 28.72 1.79 3.85 1/20/17 0.51 12.0
Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. SFBC 5 34.53 1.16 33.33 1/23/17 0.40 n/a
Kaiser Aluminum Corp. KALU 6 96.86 2.06 11.11 1/25/17 2.00 13.4
Union Bankshares Inc. UNB 5 50.70 2.29 3.57 1/25/17 1.16 2.1
First Community Corp. FCCO 5 24.50 1.47 12.50 1/26/17 0.36 14.9
First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. FIBK 8 39.70 2.42 9.09 1/26/17 0.96 14.4
Apogee Enterprises Inc. APOG 6 50.03 1.12 12.00 1/27/17 0.56 8.9
EPR Properties EPR 7 67.82 6.02 6.25 1/27/17 4.08 6.8
Washington Federal Inc. WAFD 7 34.80 1.72 7.14 1/30/17 0.60 18.5
Northwest Bancshares Inc. NWBI 8 16.93 3.78 6.67 1/31/17 0.64 6.9
Sierra Bancorp BSRR 5 27.96 2.00 16.67 1/31/17 0.56 14.9
Boston Private Financial Holdings Inc. BPFH 5 16.35 2.69 10.00 2/1/17 0.44 58.5
Pfizer Inc. PFE 7 36.26 3.53 6.67 2/1/17 1.28 8.4
Columbia Banking System Inc. COLB 7 46.10 1.91 10.00 2/6/17 0.88 28.5
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. MKTX 9 195.27 0.68 26.92 2/7/17 1.32 23.6
Territorial Bancorp TBNK 8 31.95 2.50 11.11 2/7/17 0.80 16.2
Bank of Botetourt BORT 5 24.05 2.33 16.67 2/8/17 0.56 64.4
Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. BAH 6 38.69 1.76 13.33 2/8/17 0.68 n/a
Cortland Bancorp CLDB 6 19.60 1.63 14.29 2/8/17 0.32 n/a
First Business Financial Services Inc. FBIZ 5 23.37 2.23 8.33 2/8/17 0.52 27.9
Heritage Commerce Corp. HTBK 5 16.23 2.46 11.11 2/8/17 0.40 n/a
Nexstar Media Group Inc. NXST 5 67.90 1.77 25.00 2/8/17 1.20 n/a
NiSource Inc. NI 6 27.53 2.54 6.06 2/8/17 0.70 12.1
Timberland Bancorp Inc. TSBK 5 28.72 1.53 22.22 2/9/17 0.44 n/a
Hanesbrands Inc. HBI 5 20.89 2.87 36.36 2/10/17 0.60 n/a
Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. SPB 5 114.88 1.46 10.53 2/10/17 1.68 n/a
AGCO Corp. AGCO 5 70.78 0.79 7.69 2/13/17 0.56 n/a
Allete Inc. ALE 7 80.50 2.66 2.88 2/13/17 2.14 3.2
Applied Industrial Technologies Inc. AIT 8 63.95 1.81 3.57 2/13/17 1.16 8.6
Harley-Davidson Inc. HOG 7 50.20 2.91 4.29 2/13/17 1.46 24.1
Standard Motor Products Inc. SMP 8 45.21 1.68 11.76 2/13/17 0.76 19.4
Valero Energy Corp. VLO 7 85.62 3.27 16.67 2/13/17 2.80 54.3
Xylem Inc. XYL 7 69.34 1.04 16.20 2/14/17 0.72 43.7
Apartment Investment & Management Co. AIV 7 44.09 3.27 9.09 2/15/17 1.44 22.4
First Defiance Financial Corp. FDEF 7 54.33 1.84 13.64 2/15/17 1.00 77.5
South State Corp. SSB 6 92.05 1.43 3.13 2/15/17 1.32 12.2
Guaranty Bancorp GBNK 5 29.05 1.72 8.70 2/16/17 0.50 n/a
Moody's Corp. MCO 8 151.82 1.00 2.70 2/16/17 1.52 22.2
Alaska Air Group Inc. ALK 5 69.17 1.73 9.09 2/17/17 1.20 n/a
United Parcel Service Inc. UPS 8 121.45 2.73 6.41 2/17/17 3.32 8.4
Prudential Financial Inc. PRU 9 115.84 2.59 7.14 2/20/17 3.00 14.1
Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc. RUTH 5 21.45 1.68 28.57 2/21/17 0.36 n/a
Flir Systems Inc. FLIR 7 46.58 1.29 25.00 2/22/17 0.60 14.9
Allstate Corp. ALL 7 102.66 1.44 12.12 2/24/17 1.48 9.0
Brookfield Asset Management Inc. BAM 6 41.50 1.35 7.69 2/24/17 0.56 11.7
Brookfield Property Partners LP BPY 5 21.88 5.39 5.36 2/24/17 1.18 n/a
Corning Inc. GLW 7 32.39 1.91 14.81 2/24/17 0.62 19.1
Old Point Financial Corp. OPOF 5 28.67 1.53 10.00 2/24/17 0.44 14.9
Power Integrations Inc. POWI 5 78.50 0.71 7.69 2/24/17 0.56 21.1
Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. SNI 7 81.84 1.47 20.00 2/24/17 1.20 21.7
United Bancshares Inc. UBOH 6 22.08 2.17 9.09 2/24/17 0.48 n/a
Emclaire Financial Corp. EMCF 7 30.01 3.60 3.85 2/27/17 1.08 10.2
Forrester Research Inc. FORR 6 46.45 1.64 5.56 2/27/17 0.76 n/a
Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. IPG 5 19.78 3.64 20.00 2/27/17 0.72 20.1
Wendy's Company WEN 8 14.89 1.88 7.69 2/27/17 0.28 25.1
MR=Most Recent; LY=Last Year; DGR=Dividend Growth Rate

In addition, there's a number of Near-Challengers that are on schedule to record their fifth years of increases during this period:

Company Ticker No. LY
Name Symbol Yrs Ex-Div Note
Pacific Financial Corp. PFLC 4 12/28/16 2017 Pmt=Year 4, Annual
Washington First Bankshares Inc. WFBI 4 1/3/17
First Busey Corp. BUSE 4 1/25/17
Alexander's Inc. ALX 4 1/26/17
Oak Valley Bancorp OVLY 4 1/26/17 Semi-Annual
National Security Group Inc. NSEC 4 2/2/17
Wintrust Financial Corp. WTFC 4 2/7/17
National Instruments Corp. NATI 4 2/9/17 Former Contender
Otter Tail Corp. OTTR 4 2/13/17 Former Champion
ONE Gas Inc. OGS 4 2/22/17
Vulcan Materials VMC 4 2/22/17 Former Contender
Mobile Mini Inc. MINI 4 2/27/17

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.

Disclaimer: Just because a chart looks “interesting” does not make it a Recommendation!

Disclosure: I am/we are long HBI.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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