It may have taken a few months to emerge from the spin cycle, but appliance giant Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) on Tuesday offered up some better-looking indications of things to come. The company, which makes many of the appliances that may be in your own home under its self-titled and KitchenAid brands, raised its 2004 outlook and boosted its dividend.

Back in October, Whirlpool missed third-quarter estimates and warned about the ramifications of a slowdown in Latin American business, particularly in Brazil. At that time, the news resulted in a rare "sell" call from one Wall Street brokerage firm.

Whirlpool sees the climate in Brazil changing for the better, though. Indeed, according to The Wall Street Journal, Brazil emerged from its worse recession in five years during the third quarter. The country's central bank instituted some interest rate cuts to give its economy a little get-up-and-go, and it seems that Whirlpool has been one of the beneficiaries, now that it's raising its guidance for 2004 and citing improvements in that country.

In addition, Whirlpool said it's pumping its first-quarter 2004 dividend up 26% to $0.43 per share, specifically linking the boost to its confidence in its outlook next year. (If you're looking for other confident companies with generous dividends, remember, you might want to check out Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter.)

Whirlpool's not the only appliance maker that's been having some problems lately. In October, Dave Marino-Nachison reported on competitor Maytag's (NYSE:MYG) difficult 2003, though its lagging profits appear to be linked to its Hoover vacuum unit. Other rivals that provide household appliances include General Electric (NYSE:GE).

Despite the recent chill on profits, the outlook for Whirlpool seems to be heating up. Whether investors share that sentiment may be another story. The stock was losing some of yesterday's gains in early morning trading.

Talk over the outlook with other Fools on the Whirlpool discussion board.