BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- In case you missed it in all of the chatter over the broad market's tightening in on new highs this month, 2013 is actually panning out to be a great year for dividend stocks.
The S&P 500's dividend payouts are currently 4.48% higher than they were 12 months ago, tacking significant income growth onto some significant capital gain growth over the same period. And now, with record corporate profits and cash positions, firms are well positioned to keep cutting bigger dividend checks for shareholders.
Even if Warren Buffett conspicuously announced last week that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) wouldn't be adding on a dividend in 2013, there are plenty of firms that do look primed to boost payouts. In the past few months we've had some stellar success in finding future dividend hikes just by zeroing in on a few key factors. Now we'll look at our crystal ball and try to do it again.For our purposes, that "crystal ball" is composed of a few factors: namely a solid balance sheet, a low payout ratio and a history of dividend hikes. While those items don't guarantee dividend announcements in the next month or three, they do dramatically increase the odds that management will hike their cash payouts, especially as investors start to get antsy about whether or not 2013's rally will be able to hang on. Without further ado, here's a look at five stocks that could be about to increase their dividend payments in the next quarter. >>4 Reasons to Buy Stocks in 2013 Oracle Enterprise software giant Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) has a big problem. With close to $14 billion in net cash, Oracle is one of the many blue-chip tech names that's got more cash than ideas right now -- and another dividend hike makes a whole lot of sense for management in 2013. Right now, Oracle pays out a 6-cent quarterly dividend for just a 0.7% yield. Oracle is a software behemoth. The firm sells mission-critical software packages to clients that need database tools for everything from customer resource management to supply chain analysis. Because Oracle's software is integrated so tightly into its customers' operations, those customers have extremely high switching costs and competitors have big barriers to entry. Recent cloud computing offerings should make Oracle even more competitive against more nimble software providers in the year ahead.