BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- With earnings season in high gear, dividend-paying stocks are starting to build speed as well. Although the last few weeks have been quiet for dividend boosts (not surprising given the market holidays that surround year-end), we're finally starting to see companies announce new payouts to shareholders once again.
In the last week, 14 companies announced increases in their dividends. But what's most significant about those yield hikes is who is making them. Last week's dividend increases included a fairly even mix of blue chips and small-caps, a favorable sign that U.S.-traded firms of all sizes are seeing financial improvement.
Of the 14 firms that increased their payouts to shareholders, six had previously increased their dividends during the third week of January 2010. That record of regular increases is a good sign for income investors; it signals a return to dividend normalcy.
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