By Jeff Reeves of InvestorPlace High yield dividend stocks are already in focus, and dividends will become even more important to many investors as the stock market enters the dark days of September. If you put any stock in the seasonal trends of Wall Street, the volatility we've seen this summer will increase and hold back stocks. That's where a healthy dividend yield can help you. After all, a stock that yields a quarterly dividend payout of 5% or more can still give you something to show for your investment even if the market is choppy. If you're looking for dividend stocks that have just increased their paydays as we enter September, here are seven high yield investments worth a look. Each of these companies has a plump yield and just made an increase to its dividend recently.
Verizon ( VZ) declared a quarterly dividend today of 48.75 cents per share, an increase of 1.25 cents per share or a bit less than 3%. That sends the telecom stock's yield up slightly to 6.3%. Unfortunately, the annual increase of 5 cents is the weakest bump in four years -- following a 6 cent increase last year and a 12 cent increase in 2008. The quarterly dividend is payable on Nov. 1 to Verizon stock shareowners of record at the close of business on Oct. 8. This is the fourth consecutive year that Verizon has approved a quarterly dividend increase in September. VZ stock has had a rough 2010, down about -10% year-to-date.
Tobacco and foodstuffs stock Altria ( MO) announced a hefty 8.6% increase in its quarterly dividend to 38 cents a share from 35 cents previously. This was the second quarterly dividend increase this year and puts Altria's dividend yield at a very nice 6.6%. This is the 43rd consecutive dividend increase for Altria Group, but those watching for Dividend Aristocrats may not know this. That's because its long-term dividend history is affected by the 2008 spin-off of Philip Morris International ( PM) in 2008 and Kraft Foods ( KFT) in 2007.
Also on the tobacco front, Lorillard ( LO), approved a 12.5% increase in its quarterly dividend this week, from $1.00 per share to $1.125 per share. This is the second consecutive dividend increase since the company joined the NYSE in 2008, pushing up LO stock's dividend yield to about 5.6%. Though flat on the year, LO stock has performed very well in the dog days of summer with a +10% gain in shares since June. The reliable revenue stream from a highly regulated and low-competition industry like cigarettes means that Lorillard's big dividend yield is here to stay, too.
Bob Evans Farms ( BOBE) is a bit of an oddity among small-cap, full-service restaurant companies with its decent dividend yield. And as of this week, that dividend just got bigger with an 11% increase from 18 cents to 20 cents paid out each quarter. At current valuations, that's a yield of around 3%. Not bad for a breakfast joint with a $830 million market cap.