Top Five Dividend Increases This Week

We’re once again out touting the benefits of dividend investing. This comes after a week of exciting, or volatile, earnings action — depending on how you were positioned.
In any case, if you were on the losing end of the selloffs, I hope you were invested in some dividend stocks to help soften the blow. As always, dividend investing doesn’t come without risk, but the income generated from dividends can protect your downside.
As usual, we’ve dug through the numerous stocks paying a dividend this week and hand-picked the top five that are actually increasing their dividend payments.
Last week’s installment of dividend increases was full of stocks yielding more than 4%. This week isn’t loaded with “high yielders,” but it does include some names you’re very familiar with, including some industry leaders. These industry-leading companies are bellwethers when it comes to taking the pulse of the overall market.
Here are the top five dividend increases this week:
Dividend Increase No. 1: MarkWest Energy Partners LP (NYSE: MWE)
MarkWest Energy Partners is a master limited partnership (MLP) focused on gathering and processing natural gas and crude oil, operating in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, among others. MarkWest is upping its quarterly distribution to 90 cents a share this week. This is the 17th quarter in a row that MarkWest has boosted its distribution.
MarkWest’s yield is up to 6.1% and it’s been paying a distribution for 12 years now. Another positive is that MarkWest’s payout of distributable cash flow is just around 83% — think of this as an MLP version of the dividend payout ratio.
However, if there’s one risk, it’s the fact that MarkWest is sensitive to commodity prices, given it is a gatherer of oil and gas. Meanwhile, there are other MLPs that are less exposed to commodity price fluctuations,
MarkWest will trade ex-dividend Feb. 3
Dividend Increase No. 2: Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)
This big pharma company needs no introduction. It has a sizable buyback program that it announced last year, worth $11 billion — about 5% of its market cap. It plans to repurchase $6 billion worth of shares this year. Its strong pipeline should help support its cash flow to make buybacks too. Of note, it has a breast cancer treatment, palbociclib, in phase III trials.
Pfizer’s been paying a dividend for 33 years. The mega-cap pharma stock is upping its dividend by nearly 8% this week to 28 cents a share. This puts its dividend yield at 3.6% and marks the fifth straight year of dividend increases.
Pfizer trades trade ex-dividend Feb. 4.
Dividend Increase No. 3: CMS Energy Corp. (NYSE: CMS)
CMS is an energy company that provides power production. Its electric utility segment, which provides electricity to some 1.8 million people in Michigan, generates 65% of its revenues. Its gas utility segment, serving 1.7 million people, makes up 33% of revenues.
CMS’ quarterly dividend boost this week to 29 cents a share is a 7% increase. This puts its dividend yield up to 3.1%. It has increased its dividend for eight years now. Quite simply, CMS is a utility play, which we’ve been fans of in a near-zero rate environment.
Shares will trade ex-dividend Feb. 4.
Dividend Increase No. 4: Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC)
Shares of this chip-making giant are up an impressive 37% over the last 12 months. This comes as investors are excited about Intel’s potential in the wearables market, where Intel’s chips could be in high demand for wearable technology.
After a 7% increase, its new dividend is 24 cents a share. This marks Intel’s fifth straight year of annual dividend increases. Intel is now paying a 2.9% dividend yield, which represents just a 40% payout of earnings.
Shares trade ex-dividend Feb. 4.
Dividend Increase No. 5: Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC)
Another stock needing no introduction is Norfolk Southern Corp. This railroad company has over 20,000 miles of railroad across the eastern part of the U.S. With the U.S. economy strengthening, Norfolk has been a big winner. Shares are up 50% over the last two years. But, trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 16, it’s the cheapest of the major railroad operators.
It’s upping its quarterly dividend by 3.5% to 59 cents a share. It’s paying a 2.3% dividend yield (which is just a 35% payout of earnings) and has paid a dividend for 32 years.
The stock goes ex-dividend Feb. 4.

Collect Dividend Income Every Month! 

We’ve put together a simple calendar that pulls together all the market’s best dividends into a single, easy-to-read document. One look, and you’ll be able to set up a 12-month dividend stream for regular income every month. Click here to see the full details.

To top