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Dividend Stocks for the Week

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SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- One of Jim Cramer's top five rules for playing the markets defensively is that dividends limit downside risk. He advises that investors seek out stocks with consistent dividend growth, a welcome mat for new investors and a sign that the stock's dividend is safe.

David Peltier, portfolio manager of the Dividend Stock Advisor, agrees that investors should " focus on companies that are raising their dividends."

With that in mind, every week Stockpickr reviews the recent dividend declarations and compiles a portfolio of dividend-increasers for the week.

A recent big dividend-raiser was Lorillard (LO), the cigarette and tobacco company, which increased its quarterly dividend by 8.7% to $1 per share, up from 92 cents per share. This gives the stock a healthy yield of 5.3%. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 11 to shareholders of record on Sept. 1.

Lorillard's second-quarter profits surged by 32%, double what analysts had expected, on a 42% rise in revenues. Total dividend payouts of $165 million are covered about five times over by the company's operating cash flow of $812 million. The company has $750 million in total debt, and $1.56 billion in cash.

In addition to portfolios such as the weekly dividend-increasers list, Stockpickr provides professional portfolios, which list the holdings of mutual funds, hedge funds and money managers, giving investors the opportunity to see what stocks are owned by the pros. Lorillard shows up in the portfolio of Renaissance Technologies, which is considered in the industry to run one of the most successful hedge funds, the Medallion Fund. The fund was founded by Jim Simons in 1982. Renaissance also owns Wyeth (WYE), with a yield of 2.5%; Wal-Mart (WMT), with a yield of 2.1%; and Altria (MO), which pays a 7.1% dividend.

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