5 Big Stocks Ready to Pay You Bigger Dividends

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- When it comes to dividend stocks, bigger is generally better.

Bigger dividend payouts and bigger companies mean two things: heftier income and more stable payouts. That's especially true right now, when market conditions are anything but favorable for folks who are trying to earn income from their portfolios.

Right now, we're seeing a convergence of factors working against investors. For starters, retail investors are fleeing from equities en masse. In the last year, more than $170 billion has come out of equity mutual funds, instead making its way over to less risky (and less rewarding) bond funds at a time when interest rates are scraping against the bottom of historic lows.

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And let me remind you that the companies that make up the S&P 500 have more cash than ever before, have higher profits than ever before, and pay a bigger dividend yield than they have in the last two decades.

Clearly, something's off.

So today, we're scouring the stock market for a new group of big-name stocks that look ready to hike their dividend payouts in the coming quarter. In other words, these five firms are getting ready to boost dividends; they just don't know it yet.

In the past few months we've had some stellar success in finding future dividend hikes just by zeroing in on a few key factors. Now we'll look at our crystal ball and try to do it again.

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For our purposes, that "crystal ball" is composed of a few factors: namely a solid balance sheet, a low payout ratio, and a history of dividend hikes. While those items don't guarantee dividend announcements in the next month or three, they do dramatically increase the odds that management will hike their cash payouts, especially as investors start to get antsy about this mid-2012 rally.

Without further ado, here's a look at five stocks that could be about to increase their dividend payments in the next quarter.

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