The Top Dividend Stocks of the Week

Here are the latest stocks to raise their dividends.
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More than a dozen companies increased their dividends during the holiday-shortened trading week, offering something for investors to really give thanks for. This is especially true since Freddie Mac (FRE) warned that it may have to cut its dividend.

Stockpickr has reviewed the list of stocks that increased their dividends last week and compiled the

Top 10 Dividend-Increasers for the Week

.

The top stock on the list is natural gas distributor

Southern Union

(SUG)

, which increased its annual dividend by 50% to 60 cents a share. Southern Union earlier this month reported outstanding third-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share vs. 6 cents a share a year ago. The stock has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 13.5, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 2.3 and a yield of 2%.

Southern Union is in the portfolio of

Baron Asset

(BARAX), a four-star Morningstar-rated fund that has generated an average annual return of 16.8% over the last three years. Baron also owns

Charles Schwab

(SCHW) - Get Report

, which has a yield of 0.9%,

CME Group

(CME) - Get Report

, with a yield of 0.5%, and

XTO Energy

(XTO)

, with a yield of 0.8%.

Another dividend-raiser last week was meat and food products company

Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Report

, which increased its annual dividend by 23% to 74 cents a share. Hormel also announced the largest profit-sharing distribution ever made to its employees, more than $15.5 million. This was the company's 69th consecutive year of profit-sharing distributions. The stock has a P/E of 17.4, a PEG of 1.9 and a 2% yield.

Hormel is owned by the

SEI U.S. Managed Volatility Fund

(SVOAX), which was up 15.2% in the latest year. SEI also contains in its portfolio

Telephone & Data Systems

(TDS) - Get Report

, with a yield of 0.6%,

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

, with a 2.8% yield, and

Hillenbrand Industries

(HB)

, which pays out 2.2% in dividends.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

raised its quarterly dividend, increasing it by 20% to 18 cents a share. The financial services company's Gift Cards division projects that Americans are planning on spending about a quarter of their gift-giving budget on gift cards this year, according to a company-conducted survey. AmEx has a P/E of 16.4, a PEG of 1.3 and a yield of 1.3%.

American Express is one of the favorites of

Warren Buffett

, chairman of

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRKB)

. Buffett also likes

Wabco Holdings

(WBC) - Get Report

, with a yield of 0.6%,

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

, with a 4.1% yield, and

US Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report

, with a 5.2% yield.

To see all 10 dividend-raisers, check out the

Top Dividend-Increasers for the Week

at Stockpickr.com.

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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to send him an email.

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