These Companies Raised Their Dividends Last Week

Last week, Memorial Day meant one less trading day than usual. Coincidentally, my research suggests that one less company raised its dividend last week -- eight companies in all, down from nine during the preceding week. 

That's not to say there weren't notable companies delivering dividend boosts. Let's have a look at the highlight reel.

Arguably the most prominent stock in the bunch was storied agricultural machinery producer Deere  (NYSE: DE  ) . Even though the company recently posted quarterly numbers that represented declines from the year-ago period -- particularly, revenue that dropped 9% to $9.9 billion and attributable net income that fell 10% to $981 million -- it's resolutely bullish on the future. According to Deere projections, the annual total for U.S. farm cash receipts will stay near the current historical high of about $400 billion for the remainder of 2014.

The company is putting its money where its mouth is with an 18% dividend hike. The new $0.60-per-share distribution will be paid on Aug.1 to shareholders of record as of June 30.

That 18% raise was quite nice, but it didn't come close to trumping Lowe's (NYSE: LOW  ) fat dividend raise of almost 28%. The home improvement retailer had a strong 2013 and reported an encouraging 16% year-on-year improvement in net profit for its first quarter. This is a particularly good result given the awful weather during those months that slammed the building industry (and the economy at large).

Lowe's new dividend amounts to $0.23 per share, which is to be dispensed on Aug. 6 to holders of record as of July 23. There's almost certainly more where that came from -- the company has paid a dividend every quarter since going public more than 50 years ago.

In the financial sector, north-of-the-border lender Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO  ) enacted a modest $0.02 increase to its quarterly common stock payout, for a new total of $0.78 per share. This was announced concurrently with the bank's second-quarter results, which revealed that the company grew net income by 12% on a year-over-year basis, to $1.08 billion. Standouts for the period were the bank's wealth management division, which reported a 38% year-over-year rise in net income, and capital markets, which was up 17% from the second quarter of 2013. Bank of Montreal's just-declared payout will be dispensed on Aug. 26 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 1.

Rounding out last week's quarterly dividend hikes, Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR  ) found plenty of extra space for a nearly 18% raise to $0.47 per share, payable on June 30 to holders of record as of June 13. And business software solutions provider Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA  ) doubled its payout from $0.015 to $0.03 per share. The new dividend will be paid on July 15 to those in possession of the stock as of July 1. 

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