Consumer Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Brinker International (EAT), News Corp. (NWSA), Altria Group (MO) and HerbaLife (HLF) were among the consumer stocks to raise their dividends in recent weeks.

On Monday, Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy restaurants, said its board of directors approved a 14.3% increase to its quarterly dividend. It will pay 16 cents a share on Sept. 29 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 9. That brings Brinker's yield to around 2.8% going forward.

Cigarette maker Altria Group said Friday it would increase its regular quarterly dividend by 7.9% to 41 cents per share, payable on Oct. 11 to holders of record on Sept. 15. That will bring Altria's yield to around 6.1%.

On Aug. 16, restaurateur Bob Evans Farms ( BOBE) raised its quarterly payout by 25% to 25 cents per share. The company also posted a 42% spike in quarterly profits on lower wage costs. Bob Evans' higher dividend will be paid on Sept. 19 to shareholders of record on Sept. 6, bringing its yield to around 3.1%.

Earlier this month on Aug. 10 media company News Corp. said it would pay holders of its Class A and Class B shares 9.5 cents per share on Oct. 19, reflecting an ordinary dividend of 8.5 cents and an incremental penny per share based on its fiscal 2011 financial results. That brings News Corp.'s yield to around 1.2% going forward.

Scotts Miracle-Gro ( SMG), the maker of lawn and garden care products, said Aug. 8 it increased its dividend by 20% to 30 cents per share. The higher dividend will be paid on Sept. 9 to shareholders of record on Aug. 26. Scotts' yield is now around 2.5%.

Nutrition and weight loss product maker HerbaLife said Aug. 1 it will pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, payable on Aug. 29 to holders of record on Aug. 15. That gives HerbaLife a yield of around 1.5%.

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

Home improvement retailers Lowe's ( LOW) and Home Depot ( HD) maintained their quarterly dividends of 14 cents and 25 cents per share, respectively; Kraft Foods ( KFT), Tyson Foods ( TSN) and Hershey ( HSY) maintained their quarterly dividends of 29 cents, 4 cents and 34.5 cents per share, respectively; media companies CBS ( CBS) and Time Warner ( TWX) maintained their quarterly payouts of 10 cents and 23.5 cents per share, respectively; and restaurant operators Starbucks ( SBUX) and Wendy's ( WEN) maintained their quarterly dividends of 13 cents and 2 cents per share, respectively.

Elsewhere recently, The Gap ( GPS), Macy's ( M), Safeway ( SWY), Marriott International ( MAR), United Parcel Service ( UPS), 3M ( MMM), Newell Rubbermaid ( NWL), Coach ( COH), Avon Products ( AVP) and Kimberly Clark ( KMB) all maintained their dividend payments.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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

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