The yummy business of selling Oreo cookies, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, and Oscar Mayer meats must be going pretty well. The parent of all those brands, Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT), raised its dividend 20% today to an annual payout of $0.72 per share. This move increases the company's dividend yield from 2.07% to 2.48%.

Kraft joins a list of other big-name companies that have increased their dividends recently, including Citigroup (NYSE:C), Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), and Walgreen (NYSE:WAG). Encouraged by more favorable tax treatment for dividends, and investors subsequent renewed interest in them, companies are taking this opportunity to return more money to shareholders.

Not everyone is celebrating at the dividend party, though. Troubled drug company Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) lopped off a chunk of its dividend late last week, reducing it from $0.17 a quarter to $0.055. The firm's trying to shore itself up against further financial degradation, and paying out less will help preserve cash.

Some also wonder if Kraft's daddy, Altria (NYSE:MO), which is scheduled to announce its yearly dividend increase following its board meeting tomorrow, will raise its dividend at a smaller clip than in years past. The increase marks the 36th annual hike in 34 years, but it isn't likely to match last year's 10% jump. A 3%-5% increase seems more reasonable, given the litigation and competition concerns facing Altria.

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