Middlesex Water Dividend Increase
Middlesex Water Company (MSEX) reported a 42% jump in net income last week and a 16% jump in operating revenue for the third quarter. Alongside the favorable earnings report for Middlesex came a nominal dividend increase of a quarter of a penny.
Though a quarter of a penny increase to the quarterly dividend from 18 cents to 18.25 cents barely moves the needle on the company's 3.9% dividend, it's worth noting Middlesex has paid dividends since 1912. The new dividend rate is payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 15. Shares of MSEX stock are slightly profitable year-to-date, but have lagged the broader stock market considerably.
Cognex Dividend Increase
Cognex Corp. (CGNX) declared a cash dividend for the third quarter of 2010 of 8 cents a share, a 33% in crease from its previous payout of 6 cents a share the previous quarter. That gives the company a dividend yield of about 1%. The new Cognex dividend is payable Dec. 17 to shareholders of record Dec. 3.Cognex provides "machine vision" products that capture and analyze information in order to automate tasks, primarily in manufacturing. This type of cutting-edge gear has been in high demand as companies look to cut production costs in a tough economic environment through better technology. As a result, CGNX stock has skyrocketed 65% year-to-date in 2010.
Atmos Dividend IncreaseMid-cap natural gas utility Atmos Energy Corp. (ATO) eked out a measly half-cent increase in its quarterly dividend. However, with a yield of 4.4% and a history of payouts dating back to 1984, it is still a dividend investor favorite. Atmos raised its payday from 33.5 cents to 34 cents, and will cut checks for this bigger payday Dec. 10 to shareholders of record Nov. 26. Atmos is one of the country's largest natural-gas-only distributors (based on the number of customers). Shares are essentially flat year to date, but ATO stock is up against a new 52-week high, so the company could be ready for growth. At the time of writing, Reeves did not own a position in any of the stocks mentioned. --Written by Jeff Reeves in New York.
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