BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- To heck with the "summer doldrums." Believe it or not, plenty of companies are trying to shovel more cash to investors in May.And with treasury rates plunging to record lows this week, those dividend payouts are looking more attractive than ever. There's a big disconnect between firms' fundamental performance and the price of those same firms' shares right now. Even though corporations are earning bigger profits than they ever have before, the S&P 500 has still managed to drop by more than 7.2% in the last month. That's part of the reason why so many stocks are ratcheting up their dividend payouts. Today, more S&P 500 components pay a cash dividend than any time in the last two decades. And they're paying out more cash than ever before: Each hypothetical share of the index pays out more than $29 in cold hard cash at last count. >>5 Stocks to Buy to Be Like Buffett Dividends are also a big deal for investors in search of the biggest total returns: Over the last 36 years, dividend stocks have 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 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. With that, here's a look at six stocks that hiked payouts in the last week and change.
Portland General Electric
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