BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- It's official: Earnings season has begun! Alcoa (AA) kicked off the barrage of earnings reports with its call after the closing bell on Monday, spurring that period of time when corporate management teams must bend knee and report to their owners: the investing public. Earnings season is a critical time period for the market. For most companies, it's the only time each quarter when new fundamental data gets released to the public. For that reason, earnings season can send a stock on a bullish rampage, or torpedo any chance at earning a decent return.
For income investors, earnings season is an even bigger deal. That's because it also tends to be the time when companies announce their dividend payouts for the quarter. The past year has been stellar for dividend investors -- right now, corporate profits, cash holdings, and dividend payouts all sit at record highs.
Even if that fundamental strength isn't being factored into share prices right now, investors shouldn't eschew dividends if they want to earn market-beating returns year after year. The data shows that dividends and performance have historically been inseparable.>>ACTIVE STOCK TRADERS: Check out Stockpickr's special offer for Real Money, headlined by Jim Cramer, now! Over the last 36 years, dividend stocks have outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by 2.5% annually, and they outperformed nonpayers by nearly 8% every year, all while paying out cash to their shareholders, according to data compiled by Ned Davis Research. The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts. That's why we pay close attention to the firms that are shoveling more corporate cash to shareholders. With that, here's a look at seven stocks that hiked payouts recently.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV