NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- High-yield dividend stocks and income investing strategies have been in favor so far in 2010. That's largely because of great economic uncertainty, and the safety net that a guaranteed dividend payout provides. After all, if the market moves sideways but your portfolio has a dividend yield of 3% or 4%, you're still making decent profits while you tread water. And if you want to be in dividend stocks, it goes without saying that you want to be in the best dividend stocks -- that is, picks that appreciate in share price and raise their payouts instead of slashing dividends or seeing stock prices slump. To that end, here's a comprehensive look at 15 top dividend stocks that have just raised their quarterly payouts. Dividend increases we discussed previously included gold miner GoldCorp ( GG) and food-products giant Sara Lee ( SLE). Although we don't have a lot of big names on this list, there are some lesser-known utilities and REITs and even entertainment companies you should take note of if you're a dividend investor. That's because many of these stocks boast yields of more than 3%, and many of them have enjoyed returns two or three times the broader market thus far in 2010. Take Cinemark Holdings ( CNK), a theater operator with a new dividend yield of 4.5% and returns of 40% since July! It's not a dividend headliner like Verizon ( VZ), but certainly shouldn't be overlooked. So don't overlook some of these small-cap dividend gems. Here they are: 15 stocks that increased dividends in the last week
Simon Property Dividend Increase
On Monday, Simon Property Group ( SPG) announced a 33% hike in its dividend thanks to dramatically improved earnings. The Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust (REIT) increased its quarterly dividend to 80 cents from 60 cents previously. Annualized, the move gives Simon a dividend yield of over 3% at current valuations. The dividend is payable Nov. 30 to shareholders of record Nov. 16. Simon primarily owns and operates malls, and has been hard-hit by the slowdown in consumer spending. Though third-quarter earnings fell on debt-related charges, SPG stock was helped by the fact sales by its tenants jumped more than 10% on the quarter. Shares are up 10% in the last week alone thanks to strong earnings. There could be more good news for dividend investors looking forward. Simon Property Group's CEO said the firm may raise the dividend again at the end of next year if the trend keeps up.