By Jeff Reeves of
NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- The biggest dividend news this week came from much-maligned conglomerate General Electric (GE - Get Report). The company has been on many income investors' naughty list since early 2009 when GE slashed its quarterly dividend almost 70% to 10 cents a share from 31 cents. And while the GE dividend is still not quite back at the levels we saw a few years ago, the latest boost is worth noting, as it is the second increase in less than a year.
Beyond the benefit of a bigger dividend, GE investors should be thrilled by the move because it proves GE has to be in a very good place with its financials. After all the flak this company took after slashing its dividend, it's highly unlikely execs would be foolish enough to offer a bigger payday without a rock-solid balance sheet to back it up.
Keep that in mind for the rest of this week's stocks that are raising dividends. In an environment like this where investors are still a bit uncertain of their stocks, slashing a dividend payout would weigh heavily on share price. That means only the most secure companies will be gutsy enough to deliver bigger dividends to shareholders, since they wouldn't want to risk Wall Street's ire by cutting the payout in a few months or a few years.Related article: Top 5 Dividend Stocks for December Here are the details on GE and four other picks raising dividends this week.