Dividends rock. More dividends? Even better. No, it's not just for the obvious shareholder-enriching reason. A company that feels comfortable paying out more is doing so under the assumption that it's likely to earn more in the future. That can be a magnetic sign for sharp income investors.
Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.
We'll start with Praxair
Trimming back the outstanding shares accomplishes a few things. For starters, profits get divided by fewer shares, and this props up earnings per share accordingly. With fewer shares out there, the company also has the flexibility to grow its dividend -- as Avon has done -- without necessarily having to spend more for the distributions.
Then we have ExxonMobil
Subscribers to our Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies that are 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 a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.