Consumer Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- J.M. Smucker ( SJM), General Mills ( GIS), Gannett ( GCI) and Darden Restaurants ( DRI) were among the consumer stocks to raise their dividends in recent weeks.

On July 25, J.M. Smucker announced a 9.1% increase to its quarterly dividend, paying shareholders 48 cents per share, up from 44 cents. The next dividend will be paid on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record on Aug. 12. That brings J.M. Smucker's yield to around 2.4%.

On July 18, media and publishing company Gannett said its board approved a 100% increase to its quarterly dividend, paying 8 cents per share, up from 4 cents. The higher payout will be available on Oct. 3 to shareholders of record on Sept. 9. That will bring Gannett's dividend yield to around 2.4%.

On June 30, Darden Restaurants, the operator of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, said it increased its dividend by 34.4% to 43 cents per share, up from 32 cents. The higher dividend will be paid on Aug. 1 to shareholders of record on July 11, bringing its yield to around 3.2%.

On June 28, General Mills increased its quarterly dividend to 30.5 cents per share, 8.9% higher than its prior payout of 28 cents per share. The next dividend will be paid on Aug. 1 to shareholders of record on July 11. That brings General Mills' yield to around 3.2%.

Not all consumer stocks have raised their diviends, but many maintained the cash they paid their shareholders recently.

Read on for More Dividend Increases.

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) maintained its quarterly dividend of 57 cents per share, for a yield of 3.4%. PepsiCo ( PEP) maintained its quarterly payout of 51.5 cents per share, yielding around 3.2%. Cruise operator Carnival ( CCL) said it will continue to pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share at a yield of 2.8%. Conagra Foods ( CAG) maintained its dividend of 23 cents per share for an annualized yield of 3.5%. CVS Caremark ( CVS) said it will continue to pay 12.5 cents per share to shareholders on a quarterly basis, yielding around 1.3%. And spice maker McCormick ( MKC) said its shareholders can continue to expect quarterly payouts of 28 cents per share for a yield of 2.2%.

Other Recent Dividend Stock Increases

Best Buy ( BBY) raised its dividend by 7% to 16 cents a share, the electronics retailer said on June 21. Its board also approved a plan to buy back $5 billion in common shares. The higher dividend will be paid on Oct 25 to shareholders of record on Oct. 4.

Pet supply retailer PetSmart ( PETM) increased its dividend by 12% to 14 cents a share. The higher payout will be available on Aug. 12 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 29. PetSmart also announced a new $450 million share repurchase program, commencing on Aug. 1 and continuing until January 2013.

Book publisher John Wiley & Sons ( JW.A) announced on June 16 that it raised its quarterly dividend by 4 cents a share to 20 cents. The new dividend is payable on July 14, to shareholders of record as of July 5. The increase followed John Wiley's 2% uptick in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, which came with a 2% rise in revenue as well.

Host Hotels & Resorts ( HST), a lodging real estate investment trust, raised its shareholder payout by 200% this month, to 3 cents a share from a penny a share. Host's higher dividend will be paid on July 15, to shareholders of record on June 30.

Convenience store operator Casey's General Stores ( CASY) hiked its quarterly dividend to 15 cents a share from 13.5 cents. The higher dividend will be paid on Aug. 15 to shareholders of record on Aug. 1. The dividend announcement came as Casey's grew its quarterly profit by 4% despite higher food prices pressuring its margins.

Discount retailer Target ( TGT) said recently its board approved a 20% increase in its dividend to 30 cents a share. The increase marked Target's 44th consecutive annual dividend increase. Target's higher dividend will be payable Sept. 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business Aug. 18.

Read on for More Dividend Increases.

FedEx ( FDX) recently approved an 8% increase to its quarterly dividend to 13 cents a share, marking its 10th consecutive annual dividend increase. FedEx's increased dividend will be payable July 1 to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 17.

Clorox ( CLX) increased its quarterly cash dividend by 9% to 60 cents a share. The increased dividend will be paid on Aug. 12 to shareholders of record on July 27. Clorox has raised distributions to shareholders for 34 consecutive years. In May, Clorox reaffirmed its fiscal 2011 revenue guidance, forecasting flat to 1% sales decrease and diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.85 to $3.95.

High-end jeweler Tiffany ( TIF) raised its dividend by 16% to 29 cents a share from 25 cents. The dividend will be paid on July 11 to stockholders of record on June 20. Tiffany has raised its dividend for nine consecutive years.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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