Last week, there weren't a whole lot of companies raising their dividends, but there were several that declared a special dividend.

When a company issues a special dividend or a dividend increase, it's usually a sign that business is so good that the company can afford to deliver excess earnings back into the hands of investors rather than plowing them back into the coffers.

With that in mind, Stockpickr has compiled a list of the companies that last week offered either a special dividend or a dividend increase in the

Top Special Dividend and Dividend-Raising Stocks

.

Although

Yamana Gold

(AUY) - Get Report

didn't officially declare a dividend increase, the company's CEO, Peter Marrone, stated that the company could raise its dividend in the near future. Yamana, which explores and develops gold mines in Brazil, Argentina, Honduras and Nicaragua, has inked a $3.81 billion deal to take over Meridian Gold. Yamana offers a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 64, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 3.5 and a (currently) small yield of 0.3%.

Yamana is a stock that is owned by

Nierenberg Investment Management

, which has generated an average annual return of more than 20% over the last 10 years. Nierenberg also owns

Brooks Automation

(BRKS) - Get Report

, a semiconductor-manufacturing products provider with a P/E of 6 and a PEG of 1.1. It also owns

Superior Energy Services

(SPN)

, an oilfield services company with a P/E of 11 and a very low PEG of 0.29.

Next up is

Apogee Enterprises

(APOG) - Get Report

, which raised its quarterly dividend by 10% to $0.074 per share. This glass and window maker reported in its latest quarterly report that earnings increased by 56.5% and revenue by 19.8%. The stock has a P/E of 16, a PEG of 1 and a yield of 1.1%.

Apogee is a stock held by the

Royce Opportunity Fund

(RYPNX), which specializes in long-term growth small-cap stocks. The fund, rated four stars by Morningstar, has generated an average annual return of 15% over the last five years. It also holds in its portfolio

Regal Entertainment Group

(RGC)

, with a P/E of 10 and a PEG of 2.16, and

Cinemark Holdings

(CNK) - Get Report

TheStreet Recommends

, which has a P/E of 11 and a PEG of 0.9.

Another company that just raised its dividend is

Universal Insurance Holdings

(UVE) - Get Report

, which had it up by 13% to 9 cents a share. This Florida-based property and casualty insurance company offers a P/E of 8.6 and a yield of 2.7%.

The stock is part of an interesting Stockpickr portfolio called

Waiting for Breakouts

. This portfolio also includes

Cal-Maine Foods

(CALM) - Get Report

, with a P/E of 10, and

American Oriental Bioengineering

( AOB), with a P/E of 22.

For the rest of these featured dividend-payers, check out the

Top Special Dividend and Dividend-Raising Stocks

at Stockpickr.com.

Please note that due to factors including low market capitalization and/or insufficient public float, we consider Universal Insurance Holdings to be a small-cap stock. You should be aware that such stocks are subject to more risk than stocks of larger companies, including greater volatility, lower liquidity and less publicly available information, and that postings such as this one can have an effect on their stock prices.

At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

James Altucher is president of Stockpickr LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com and part of its network of Web properties, and a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs a fund of hedge funds. He is also a weekly columnist for

The Financial Times

and the author of

Trade Like a Hedge Fund

,

Trade Like Warren Buffett

and

SuperCa$h

. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback;

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