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 International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT ) . The leading provider of gaming machines and systems for the casino industry is giving its investors more slot machine money.
It's been more than four years since IGT abruptly slashed its quarterly dividend to $0.06 a share as the gaming industry reacted to the global recession. That's where the payout remained until late last year, when IGT bumped it up to $0.07 a share. That became $0.08 a share three months ago, and it's now up to $0.09 a share now. We're still a far cry from IGT's 2008 quarterly rate of $0.145, but there's nothing too shabby about three dividend increases in the past seven months.
Avago Technologies (NASDAQ: AVGO ) also knows where to go. The supplier of analog semiconductor devices declared a quarterly distribution of $0.21 a share on Thursday, 11% ahead of its earlier rate. It may not seem like much of a boost, but Avago has managed to increase its payout every quarter since initiating a dividend policy less than three years ago.
FedEx (NYSE: FDX ) also isn't just delivering packages these days. The speedy transporter wedged in a dividend hike announcement in a press release detailing the accelerated retirement of some of its older aircraft and related engines.
FedEx's new quarterly rate of $0.15 a share represents a 7% improvement.
Finally, we have Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ: CBRL ) serving up a heaping hike. The chain of rustic restaurants serving up Southern vittles in eateries with adjacent gift shops may be a throwback, but it's also throwing back more money at its stakeholders. The restaurateur followed blowout quarterly results with a healthy 50% increase to its quarterly distributions. Investors will now be receiving $0.75 a share every three months.
The market digs it like peach cobbler after a plate of chicken and dumplings. Shares of Cracker Barrel hit an all-time high on Friday. The stock has more than doubled since Sardar Biglari began taking an activist role in meddling with the restaurateur. One can argue that Cracker Barrel has responded to Biglari's concerns -- and last week's hike is an exclamation point -- but perhaps Biglari's prodding has inspired the chain to improve its operations.
Checks and balances
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