BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- This past week has been a strong one for stocks -- finally. The market has seen moderate positive action for the last five consecutive trading days, pushing the S&P 500 index up 1.7% for the first week of March. But there's even more bullish sentiment to be found in the world of dividend stocks.
Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria ( MO) increased its dividend 2.9% last week to 35 cents per share, bringing the company's annual dividend yield to a sizable 6.86%. Altria's had a strong run in the last year and change, with shares rising 35% since the first trading days of 2009. The company's leading market share and strong recurring sales numbers could push shares even higher in 2010, bolstered by a dividend that's hard for income investors to ignore.
It's been a good decade for investment manager BlackRock ( BLK). Since the company went public back in 1999, it's rocketed from a mid-sized niche firm to the largest asset manager in the world with more than $3.2 trillion in client cash under its guidance. BlackRock increased its dividend 28.2% last week to $1 per share.
Home Depot ( HD) has made an 8.7% dash this year, sparked in part by a strong showing in the company's fourth quarter numbers last week - and by the company's 5% dividend increase that sent the company's shareholder payouts to 23.62 cents per share.
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