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Dividend checks continue to get fatter in corporate America, as more companies jack up their distribution rates.
Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher these past few days.
We can start with General Electric (NYSE: GE ) .
The diversified conglomerate is boosting its quarterly dividend 12% to $0.19 a share. GE is also returning more money to its shareholders by expanding its share buyback authorizations by another $10 billion. There is presently less than $4.9 billion left to buy back from an earlier authorization.
GE disappointed investors when it dramatically slashed its rate in 2009, but it has now come through with five increases to take its quarterly disbursements from $0.10 a share to $0.19 a share. We're still far away from the $0.31-a-share rate that was cut in early 2009, but at least GE is moving in the right direction.
Ingersoll Rand (NYSE: IR ) is also on the move. The Irish refrigeration giant is jacking up its quarterly payouts by 31% to $0.21 a share. It's also spinning off its security business and initiating a $2 billion buyback.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT ) also keeps on trucking. The transporter is bumping its rate 7% higher to $0.15 a share. J.B. Hunt normally pays out this quarterly dividend in February, but like so many other companies lately it will accelerate the distribution to later this month to get in under the likely 2013 tax increases.
Finally, we have CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS ) prescribing fatter dividends. The drugstore chain and pharmacy benefit manager bumped its quarterly distributions 38% higher to $0.225 a share. Investors should be used to this by now: CVS Caremark has come through with increases in each of the past 10 years.
CVS Caremark's announcement on a day when it also issued robust guidance for 2013 is a welcome contrast to what's happening at rival Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD ) . Rite Aid hasn't cranked out a quarterly profit since the summer of 2007. Rite Aid also suspended its payouts in 2008.
Checks and balances
Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results. A 30-day trial subscription will let you see if it's right for you.
Considering investing in GE for its recently boosted dividend? Start by reading our comprehensive coverage for investors in our premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the year. To get started, click here now.