NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Visa ( V), Peabody Energy ( BTU) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) joined a roster of companies raising their shareholder payouts in recent weeks. Dividend activity has picked up as companies begin to regain some sense of stability in the state of the economy. The iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend ( DVY), an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index, is up 3.3% over the past month, and up 10% so far in 2010.
Prosperity Bancshares ( PRSP) said Friday it will increase its quarterly dividend payout to 17.5 cents per share, from 15.5 cents, an increase of 12.9%. The lender will pay the new dividend Dec. 31 to all shareholders of record as of Dec. 17. Copper, gold and molybdenum miner Freeport-McMoran increased its common stock dividend by 66.7% to $2 per share. Dividends are paid quarterly with the initial quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share expected to be paid in February 2011. Diversified energy company Oneok ( OKE) said Thursday it raised its quarterly payout by 2 cent to 48 cents per share. It will be paid on Nov. 12 to shareholders of record Oct. 29. The yield base on the new payout is 5.7%. First Niagara Financial Group ( FNFG) said its board approved a 7% increase in the quarterly common dividend to 15 cents per share. The savings and loan bank will pay the new dividend on Nov. 16 to stockholders of record on Nov. 2.