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5 Dividend Stocks Ready to Boost Payouts

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- These five stocks are about to boost dividends. They just don't know it yet.

A new earnings season is just a week away, kicking off on July 9 with Alcoa's (AA) second-quarter earnings call. Earnings are a big deal for dividend investors -- after all, earnings releases are the most natural time for companies to announce their dividend hikes for the coming months.

>>5 Rocket Stocks Worth Buying in July

This quarter, a slew of firms are likely to post bigger dividend payouts, and investors who buy ahead of time stand to benefit in a big way. That's why it's time to take a look ahead to what's in store for next earnings season.

Investors have taken on a renewed interest in the last couple of years, after being unceremoniously reminded in 2007 and 2008 that those quarterly checks contribute a whole heck of a lot of Mr. Market's historical returns. According to research from Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel, reinvested dividends account for 97% of total market performance. So, it shouldn't be a big surprise that finding dividend increasers is a big priority.

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Today, we'll look into the crystal ball to try and find firms likely to hike their payouts in the quarter ahead.

For our purposes, that "crystal ball" is composed of a few factors: namely a solid balance sheet, a low payout ratio, and a history of dividend hikes. While those items don't guarantee dividend announcements in the next month or two, they do dramatically increase the odds that management will hike their cash payouts, especially as investors start to get antsy about this 2012 rally.

Without further ado, here's a look at five stocks that could be about to increase their dividend payments in the next quarter.

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