Several companies gave their investors early Christmas presents last week through increased or special dividends. Stockpickr has sorted through the companies that raised their dividends and compiled the top 10 in the Dividend Increases for the Week Ending 12-22-07.

Steelcase ( SCS - Get Report) declared a special dividend of $1.75 a share on top of its regular quarterly per-share dividend of 15 cents. The large office furniture manufacturer also approved a $250 million increase to its share-buyback plan.

These increases came at the same time Steelcase posted a 10.5% year-over-year increase in third-quarter revenue and guided for a 10% to 14% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter sales. Steelcase has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 19, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 0.6 and a yield of 3.5%.

Steelcase shows up in Insider Purchases and Buybacks X, a Stockpickr portfolio from June that shows stocks that saw either significant insider purchasing or stock buybacks. This portfolio also includes Limited Brands ( LTD), which has a yield of 3.3%, Medtronic ( MDT), which yields 1%, and Home Depot ( HD - Get Report), which pays a yield of 3.4%.

Another stock with a recent dividend boost is Exelon ( EXC - Get Report), which upped its first-quarter payout by 14% to 50 cents a share. This Midwest utility also increased its share-buyback plan by $500 million and reaffirmed its adjusted non-GAAP earnings estimates for 2007 and 2008. On a GAAP basis, the company raised its earnings outlook for 2007 to a range of $4.05 to $4.20 a share from $3.90 to $4.20 a share. The stock has a P/E of 20, a PEG of 2.2 and pays a yield of 2.4%.

Exelon is a stock that's owned by American Century Capital Value Investment, a fund rated four stars by Morningstar that has generated an average annual return of 13.2% over the last five years. The fund, managed by Charles Ritter, also owns shares of Exxon Mobil ( XOM - Get Report), which yields 1.5%, Citigroup ( C), which yields 7.2%, and General Electric ( GE - Get Report), which pays 3.4%.

Eli Lilly ( LLY - Get Report) raised its quarterly dividend by 10.6% to 47 cents a share. The drugmaker last week also announced a CEO transition. Sidney Taurel will retire March 31 to be replaced by John Lechleiter, an organic chemist who currently serves as president and chief operating officer. Lilly has a P/E of 27, a PEG of nearly 2 and a yield of 3.5%.

Lilly is a stock favored by Forbes columnist David Dreman, who is also the founder and chairman of Dreman Value Management. Dreman also likes ConocoPhillips ( COP - Get Report), which pays 1.9%, Altria Group ( MO - Get Report), which has a yield of 3.9%, and Washington Mutual ( WM), which based on previous dividends, is paying 15.3%.

For more stocks that increased their dividends last week, check out the Dividend Increases for the Week Ending 12-22-07 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; click here to send him an email.

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