5 Stocks Ready for a Dividend Boost in 2012

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- There's a very good reason why saying that something "pays dividends" has meaning outside of the investment world. People get that stock dividends are a good thing.

But what many folks may not get is just how good dividends have been historically for investors. According to research from Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel, reinvested dividends account for as much as 97% of total market performance. Better yet, dividends even impact how big your capital gains are. 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.

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So it shouldn't be a big surprise that finding firms ready to boost their dividend payouts is a big priority.

That's why we're scouring the stock market today 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 late-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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