The Top Dividend Stocks of the Week

Here are the latest stocks to raise their dividends.
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Last week, investors were rewarded with, in addition to a rising stock market, dividend increases from many stocks, one of which upped its payment by more than 170%. Stockpickr has come up with the list of stocks that last week increased their dividends by more than 8% and has compiled them in the Top Dividend-Increasers for the Week Ending 12-09-07.

By far, last week's top dividend-raiser is

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Report

, which raised its quarterly dividend from 11 cents to 30 cents a share, an enormous increase of 172.7%. And to top it off, the company also declared a 31-cent supplemental dividend. This steel manufacturer said the increase reflects the successful building of "Nucor's long-term earnings power." The stock offers a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 1.8 and a yield of 2%.

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Nucor is owned by

SAC Capital

, a group of hedge funds that purportedly has generated a return in excess of 40% every year since inception. SAC, which was founded by Steven Cohen, has $12 billion under management. Other stocks that SAC owns include

China Petroleum & Chemical

(SNP) - Get Report

, with a yield of 1.2%;

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

, with a 1.7% yield; and

Carnival

(CCL) - Get Report

, which has a 3.6% yield.

Another recent dividend-raiser is

Stryker

(SYK) - Get Report

, the orthopedic and medical products company, which increased its annual dividend by 50% to 33 cents a share. A recent report in

Investor's Business Daily

notes that the No. 1 supplier of artificial hips for seniors is now going after the younger hip-replacement market. The stock has a P/E of 32, a PEG of 1.7 and a yield of 0.4%.

Stryker also appears in the portfolio of the

BlackRock Health Sciences Institutional Fund

(SHSSX), which looks for long-term growth through investments in health sciences companies. This five-star Morningstar-rated fund has generated a reported average annual return of 22.7% over the past three years. The fund also owns

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

, with a yield of 2.5%;

Becton Dickinson

(BDX) - Get Report

, with a 1.4% yield; and

Manor Care

(HCR) - Get Report

, with a 1.1% yield.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

(FCX) - Get Report

also raised its annual dividend by 40% to $1.75 a share. Jim Cramer also recently recommended Freeport-McMoRan as a China play. The stock has a P/E of 13, a PEG of 0.3 and a yield of 1.2%.

Famous hedge fund manager and trader

George Soros

also likes Freeport-McMoRan, along with other stocks such as

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

, which pays a dividend of 1%,

Quest Diagnostics

(DGX) - Get Report

, which yields 0.7%, and

Vimpel-Communications

(VIP)

, which also yields 0.7%.

For the rest of the 10 stocks we've selected from last week's dividend-raisers, check out the

Top Dividend-Increasers for the Week Ending 12-09-07

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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