These Companies Raised Their Dividends Last Week

The pre-Memorial Day week was stuffed with dividend increases. By my tally, nine companies hiked their dividends during the week, giving their investors some happy news in advance of the holiday weekend.

Arguably the most prominent of those companies was banking titan JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , which upped its quarterly distribution by $0.02 to $0.40 per share. The bank has seen its share of difficulties this year, including big-ticket legal settlements and a Q1 that left many investors cold. Regardless, it found a little spare change for its shareholders. The new payout is to be distributed on July 31 to stockholders of record as of July 3. 

Appropriately, just shy of Memorial Day, defense giant Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) declared a dividend raise. The new amount is $0.70 per share, a 15% increase over its predecessor. The sector has been doing well lately in terms of both fundamentals and share price. Northrop Grumman is the latest to enact a dividend raise, following hikes from firms such as Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) , Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) , and Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) over the past year.

Northrop Grumman's new distribution is to be handed out on June 18 to shareholders of record as of June 2.

Mining equipment producer Joy Global (NYSE: JOY  ) is another double-digit raiser, lifting its quarterly dividend by 14% to $0.20 per share. The company cited its strong cash flow as a key reason for the increase. What also helps is its optimism going forward -- management believes its profit margins will rise this year on the back of increased service sales and reduced costs. Joy Global's new distribution will be paid on June 18 to holders of record as of June 4.

Insurance holding company W.R. Berkley (NYSE: WRB  ) raised its dividend by $0.01 per quarter. Based purely on recent financials, there's plenty of room for that extra penny, as the firm saw an 11% year-over-year increase in its gross premiums written this past quarter -- and a far chunkier 45% improvement in the bottom line. W.R. Berkley's new $0.11-per-share quarterly payout will be dispensed on July 1 to shareholders in possession of its stock as of June 10.

Dividends are flowing at American States Water (NYSE: AWR  ) . The company has opened the spigot by another 5% and will pay out $0.213 per share for its next quarterly distribution. The company is keen to point out that this will be its 313th dividend in a row. It will be paid on Sept. 2 to holders of record as of Aug. 15.

The other companies increasing their distributions last week were Questar (NYSE: STR  ) , Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC  ) , Bunge (NYSE: BG  ) , and Donaldson (NYSE: DCI  ) . Of the four, Omnicom enacted the most significant dividend increase in both amount ($0.10) and percentage (25%).

Company New Dividend Record Date Payment Date Old Dividend Increase
Omnicom Group   $0.50  June 13  July 10 $0.40   25%
Donaldson  $0.165  June 6  June 20 $0.14  18% 
Bunge $0.34  August 19 September 2  $0.30 13%
Questar $0.19  June 6 June 23  $0.18 6%

Sources: Company websites. 

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Eric Volkman

Eric has been writing about stocks and finance since the mid-1990s, when he lived in Prague, Czech Republic. Over the course of a varied career, he has also been a radio newscaster, an investment banker, and a bass player in a selection of rock and roll bands. A native New Yorker, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

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