NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Yamana Gold ( AUY), Marriott International ( MAR) and Unilever ( UL) joined a roster of companies raising their shareholder payouts in the past week. Dividend activity has picked up lately as companies begin to regain some sense of stability in the state of the economy, and visibility of future earnings growth. The iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend ( DVY), an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index, is up nearly 3% over the past month, and up nearly 12% so far in 2010.
Insurance holding company EMC Insurance Group ( EMCI) raised its quarterly dividend by a penny per share to 19 cents. The new payout will be available Nov. 24 to shareholders of record on Nov. 17, bringing EMC's current dividend yield to 3.4%. KKR Financial ( KFN), an investment services firm, upped its quarterly payout by 2 cents per share to 14 cents. The next dividend will be paid on Dec. 1 to shareholders of record on Nov. 17. That brings KKR's new yield to 6.1%. Movie theatre manager Cinemark Holdings ( CNK) will pay its shareholders a 16.7% larger dividend of 21 cents per share. The higher payout will be available Dec. 7 to shareholders of record on Nov. 22 for a new yield of 4.5%. Telus ( TU), a Canadian telecommunications firm, raised its quarterly dividend to 52.5 cents per share, from 50 cents per share. Payable in Canadian funds, less Canadian tax, the new dividend will be available to Jan. 4, 2011 to shareholders of record on Dec. 10. Consumer goods supplier Unilever N.V. ( UN) raised its dividend by 6% to 29.16 cents per share. It will be paid Dec. 15 to shareholders of record on Nov. 12 for a new yield of 3.7%. Parent company Unilever ( UL) raised its payout by the same amount for a new yield of 3.8%.