Buy a fixed-rate bond, and your income stream is constant. Buy a dividend-paying stock, and there's always the chance that the distribution will grow as the company's prospects improve. That's the double bonus of companies that raise their payouts -- more money for shareholders, coupled with the company's stronger fundamentals.
Let's take a closer look at four companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.
International Game Technology
Let's not look a gift half-penny in the mouth. The company has been struggling lately, with domestic sales falling in recentquarters. The marginally more potent payout should provide some degree of comfort to owners who have seen the stock shed 43% of its value since peaking in the spring of 2004. Naturally, it will take a long time to work off the stock's precipitous drop in quarterly pocket change. The thinking here is that the stock is feeling confident enough with its future prospects to the point where the shares will eventually follow suit higher.
The future's so bright for Oakley
The move bumps up Wyeth's yield to 2.2%. Compared to some of the bigger players in pharmaceuticals, that may seem like chump change. Motley Fool Income Investor pick Merck
Subscribers to our Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. Analyst Mathew Emmert has often singled out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.
Want to see what Mathew likes these days? Go ahead and give his newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.