Five December Dividend Increases To Watch This Week

It’s a short week this week with the Christmas holiday coming up, but don’t let that prevent you from cashing in on these upcoming dividend increases.
Christmas week is a relatively sleepy time on Wall Street. But it’s still fairly eventful if you’re an income investor.
With the holidays upon us, a number of public companies are in a giving mood, rewarding shareholders with hefty dividend increases.
Once again, we’ve dug through the various stocks paying a dividend this week and cherry-picked the top five that are actually boosting their dividend payments.
Last week’s dividend increases included a number of interesting stocks, including a winter play and wireless tower operator, but this week it’s all about yield. The dividend increases this week are primarily in the REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) space. As the Fed keeps rates low, the high yields that REITs offer should remain attractive in 2015.
With that, here are the top five dividend increases this holiday week:

Dividend Increase No. 1: CBL & Associates Properties (NYSE: CBL)

CBL is a REIT in the retail space; it’s an owner and manager of regional shopping malls, community centers and office space. Being one of the largest shopping mall owners isn’t easy in the current retail environment, but the good news is that CBL’s properties are dominant in their mid-sized markets. The company’s recent strategy involves tapering its aggressive acquisitions and developing select opportunities where retail markets are underserved.
CBL pays the highest dividend of our stocks listed, coming in at a 5.4% dividend yield. CBL is increasing its quarterly dividend payment 8% to $0.265 a share, meaning it has now boosted its dividend for four straight years. Long term, CBL has been paying a dividend for over 20 years.
Shares trade ex-dividend Dec. 26.

Dividend Increase No. 2: DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE: DFT)

DuPont Fabros Technology is a REIT focused on office space. Its key market is wholesale data centers. DuPont is a key play on the growing use of data centers, where tech companies are increasing their demand for cloud computing.
DuPont Fabros Technology is another high-yielding REIT, with a 5% dividend yield. The company is upping its dividend by 20% this week to 42 cents a share. In 2009, it lowered its dividend, but has since been getting back in the groove. It’s upped its annual dividend for two straight years now.
The stock trades ex-dividend Dec. 26.

Dividend Increase No. 3: Douglas Emmett (NYSE: DEI)

This is yet another REIT. Douglas Emmett operates as a diversified REIT, with assets in the multifamily and office industries (mainly in Hawaii and California). The California real estate market was hit fairly hard by the financial crisis, but Hawaii’s has remained relatively strong. Nonetheless, Douglas Emmett’s diversified business of residential and commercial properties is appealing.
Douglas Emmett is increasing its quarterly dividend to 21 cents. Its dividend yield of 2.9% is the lowest on our list, but the REIT has paid a dividend for seven years and has managed to increase that dividend for three straight years now.
Shares trade ex-dividend on Dec. 26.

Dividend Increase No. 4: Healthcare Trust of America (NYSE: HTA)

Healthcare Trust of America is a health care REIT that focuses on medical office buildings and health care related facilities. It operates across more than 30 states with a number of properties and is a solid dividend play on the bustling health care industry.
This REIT has been increasing its dividend quicker than any other company on our list this week; it’s doubling its quarterly dividend payment to 29 cents a share. With that, its dividend yield is jumping to 4.3%. The big increase comes despite the fact that Healthcare Trust of America has only been paying a dividend for a couple years now.
HTA goes ex-dividend today, Dec. 23 — so if you’re going to act, do it quickly.

Dividend Increase No. 5: KAR Auction Services (NYSE: KAR)

KAR operates auctions for used cars and salvage autos. Other revenues come from transportation, storage and inspection services. It’s not a play on the used car market like CarMax Group (NYSE: KMX). Nonetheless, it should benefit from the fact that the average age of cars on the road is increasing steadily.
KAR pays a 3.1% dividend yield and is a relatively new dividend payer, only having paid a dividend for a couple of years. The company is boosting its quarterly dividend payment to 27 cents a share — an 8% increase. This dividend boost marks the second year in a row that KAR has upped its payout.
Shares will trade ex-dividend on Dec. 24.

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