When a company raises its dividend, it's a significant event. When a company -- such as St. Joe ( JOE) -- starts eliminating dividends entirely, the significance is even greater. St. Joe, a Florida-based real estate development company, dropped its dividend completely to help pay off debt as part of its restructuring plan. When a company issues a dividend for the first time or raises its dividend, it shows that the executives and board of directors believe that the company is in strong financial shape. Stockpickr has reviewed the companies that increased their dividends last week and posted the stocks with the largest percentage dividend increases in the Top Dividend Raisers for the Week Ending Oct. 7. First up is Allegheny Energy ( AYE). The Pennsylvania-based electric utility reinstated its dividend to 15 cents a share, after going almost five years without any payouts. The stock has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 26, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 1.2, and based on its new dividend, a projected yield of 1.1%. The company will host its earnings call on Oct. 25.
Allegheny was recently added to the portfolio of Jennison Utility A (PRUAX), an open-end fund run by Shaun Hong that specializes in investing in utility equities and bonds. The four-star Morningstar-rated fund has generated an outstanding average annual return -- especially considering it comes from utilities -- of 34% over the last three years. Jennison also owns Sempra Energy ( SRE), which has a yield of 2.1%, and Edison International ( EIX), with a payout of 2%.
ConocoPhillips ( COP) didn't raise its dividend this week, it is another dividend play we like. Its earnings call is scheduled for Oct. 24. The oil stock as a P/E of 13, a PEG of 0.9 and a yield of 1.9%. ConocoPhillips stock was recently purchased by George Soros, one of the most successful hedge fund managers. Soros owns a few other dividend-paying stocks such as Union Pacific ( UNP), which pays 1.2%, and Halliburton ( HAL), which yields 0.9%. Another stock with a large dividend increase is Teekay ( TK). The oil tanker company raised its quarterly dividend by 16%, to 27.5 cents a share, its fifth consecutive yearly dividend increase. Teekay has a P/E of 14, a PEG of 3.1 and a yield of 1.7%. Teekay is listed in the Forbes Best Shippers portfolio at Stockpickr. This list, which the magazine issued last year, also includes Seaspan ( SSW), yielding 5.6%, and Quintana Maritime ( QMAR), yielding 5.4%. Check out Stockpickr to see the entire list of the Top Dividend Raisers for the Week Ending Oct. 7.