BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- With interest rates scraping along record time lows right now, how much income is your portfolio paying out? If you answered "not enough," you need to rethink you income holdings. After all, a noticeable group of companies is practically shoveling cash to shareholders right now.
I realize that may sound surprising, especially as negative real yields crush fixed income investors in 2012. But dividends are looking impressive this year, even if price action isn't.
With corporate cash and earnings at all-time highs, companies are doing their part to return value to shareholders. Today, more S&P 500 components pay a cash dividend than any time in the last two decades. And they're paying out more cash than ever before: Each hypothetical share of the index pays out more than $29 in cold hard cash at last count.Dividends are also a big deal for investors in search of the biggest total returns: Over the last 36 years, dividend stocks have outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by 2.5% annually, and they outperformed nonpayers by nearly 8% every year, all while paying out cash to their shareholders, according to data compiled by Ned Davis Research. The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts. >>ACTIVE STOCK TRADERS: Check out Stockpickr's special offer for Real Money, headlined by Jim Cramer, now! That's why we pay close attention to the firms that are shoveling more corporate cash to shareholders. With that, here's a look at seven stocks that hiked payouts in the last week and change.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV