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SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- One of Jim Cramer's top five rules for playing the markets defensively is that dividends limit downside risk. He advises that investors seek out stocks with consistent dividend growth, a welcome mat for new investors and a sign that the stock's dividend is safe.

David Peltier, portfolio manager of the Dividend Stock Advisor, agrees that investors should " focus on companies that are raising their dividends."

With that in mind, every week Stockpickr reviews the recent dividend declarations and compiles a portfolio of dividend-increasers for the week.

A recent big dividend-raiser was Lorillard ( LO), the cigarette and tobacco company, which increased its quarterly dividend by 8.7% to $1 per share, up from 92 cents per share. This gives the stock a healthy yield of 5.3%. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 11 to shareholders of record on Sept. 1.

Lorillard's second-quarter profits surged by 32%, double what analysts had expected, on a 42% rise in revenues. Total dividend payouts of $165 million are covered about five times over by the company's operating cash flow of $812 million. The company has $750 million in total debt, and $1.56 billion in cash.

In addition to portfolios such as the weekly dividend-increasers list, Stockpickr provides professional portfolios, which list the holdings of mutual funds, hedge funds and money managers, giving investors the opportunity to see what stocks are owned by the pros. Lorillard shows up in the portfolio of Renaissance Technologies, which is considered in the industry to run one of the most successful hedge funds, the Medallion Fund. The fund was founded by Jim Simons in 1982. Renaissance also owns Wyeth ( WYE), with a yield of 2.5%; Wal-Mart ( WMT), with a yield of 2.1%; and Altria ( MO), which pays a 7.1% dividend.

Another recent dividend-booster was Badger Meter ( BMI), which makes flow measurement and control products, primarily for water utilities. The company just raised the dividend by 9 % to 12 cents per share, payable Sept. 15 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 1. This gives the stock a yield of 1.2%.

Last month, the company reported that its second-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations, yet revenues dropped by 9%. Total dividend payouts of $ 7.4 million are well-protected by Badger Meter's operating cash flow of $32.6 million. The company's balance sheet shows cash amounting to $6.3 million, with $16.8 million in total debt.

Badger Meter is the second-largest holding of PowerShares Water Resources, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Palisades Water index, which invests in the common stocks of companies in the water industry. The fund also owns Pall ( PLL), which yields 1.9%, Flowserve ( FLS) which pays a yield of 1.2 % yield, and ITT ( ITT) with a 1.7 % yield.

For more dividend stock ideas, check out the dividend-increasers for the week portfolio, and don't forget to join Stockpickr, if you haven't already done so.

There are also numerous portfolios at Stockpickr that include dividend-paying stocks (to find them, just enter "dividend" in the search box). Examples include the High Beta Dividends portfolio, the Large-Cap Gold Stocks with Dividends portfolio and the Microcaps with Dividends portfolio. (To create your own portfolio, just sign up at Stockpickr.)

-- Written by Fred Fuld in San Francisco.

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At the time of publication, Fuld had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Fred Fuld is the publisher of the stock and bond investing blog,, and founder of He has been in the financial services industry for more than 20 years, working as an investment advisor, options market maker at the Pacific Stock Exchange, vice president of a San Francisco money management fund and university faculty member. He is the author of the books Investing in Brazil Stocks and The Green Light on Green Stocks.