7 Dividend Stocks Shoveling Cash to Shareholders

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Contrary to popular belief, earnings season isn't just a crucial time for investors seeking capital gains -- it's also make-or-break time for income investors.

Even if dividend actions don't spur the same kinds of big-percentage moves that can be found in an earnings surprise stock, they can provide some material gains to their shareholders in the form of cold, hard cash. And dividend announcements generally tend to be grouped around a company's earnings calls.

Related: 5 Big Stocks to Trade for Gains

With stocks starting to take on a more bullish tone this week, now could be a good time to pick up shares of companies that are actively paying out dividends and increasing their yields. Don't think for a second that buying dividend stocks means that you'll have to forego capital gains in 2011. In fact, statistics that we mention each week show that the exact opposite is true:

Instead of being mutually exclusive, dividends and capital gains actually go hand in hand. Over the last 36 years, dividend stocks outperformed the rest of the S&P 500 by 2.5% annually, and they outperformed nonpayers by nearly 8% every year, all while paying out cash to their shareholders, according to a study from NDR.

The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts.

That's why, each week, we take a look at the stocks that declared dividend increases the previous week. Here's a look at some of several stocks from our list of recent dividend-increasers, plus one other dividend payer worth taking a second look at.

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