5 Dividend Boosters That Could Really Pay Off

Get Paid With These 5 Probable Dividend Boosters

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Who cares about dividends? With the S&P 500 in rally mode this fall, it's easy to ignore the cash payouts that companies are offering up to investors right now. After all, dividends only matter in tough markets, not markets where you can make capital gains hand over fist, right?

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Wrong.

Even in 2013, dividend investing is paying off in a big way. While the S&P 500's year-to-date capital gains have weighed in at a lofty 23.6% as of this writing, the payout-centric S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index has generated total returns of 27.3% over that same period. That's pretty material outperformance.

And that's not all. Over the last three and a half decades, 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, based on data compiled by Ned Davis Research. The numbers are even more compelling when looking at companies that consistently increase their payouts.

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To take advantage of that trend today, we're focusing on dividend stocks that look ready to hike their payouts. So instead of chasing yield, we'll try to step in front of the next round of stock payout hikes.

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.

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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