BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- As companies continue to share their record cash reserves with shareholders in this volatile market, it's going to be crucial for investors to seek out quality rather than quantity.The dividends are continuing to slow to a trickle at the tail end of earnings season, as the last remaining companies planning on hiking their cash payouts to shareholders make announcements to Wall Street. In the last two weeks, only 17 stocks with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more announced that they were increasing their dividends -- that's down from 26 firms in the week ended two weeks ago and 35 the previous week. >>5 Stocks Under $10 With Big Upside Potential When stocks move higher, as they certainly have this week, investors tend to forget about dividend payers. But that's a big mistake -- over the last 36 years, dividend stocksoutperformed 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 data compiled by Ned Davis Research. The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts. That's why we pay close attention to the firms that are shoveling more corporate cash to shareholders each week. With that, here's a look at seven of the stocks that hiked payouts in the last week.
National Oilwell Varco
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