Dividend investing gets more attractive

As the recession slowly fades, more companies are upping their dividend payments.

By Kim Peterson May 21, 2010 2:56PM
Save Money © CorbisDespite all the bizarre twists and turns of this market, one trend is becoming clear: Dividends are back and getting stronger.

At least nine companies have raised their dividends this week, reports Dow Jones. Tiffany & Co. (TIF) raised its dividend for the second time this year, while Unum Group (UNM) and Safeway (SWY) also rolled out increases.

That brings the total number of companies upping dividends this year to about 123, while two have cut their dividends. That compares favorably to last year, when only 79 companies raised dividends while 63 cut them, Dow Jones reports.

Ashland (ASH) doubled its dividend to 15 cents this week. Others raising their payments, according to Dow Jones, include Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS), Xcel Energy (XEL) and Ace (ACE). Good old Clorox (CLX) continued its annual tradition of raising its dividend as well.

Why the sudden rush? As the recession wore away at the economy, companies held on to their cash in case all hell broke loose again. Now, with the recession slowly fading, they're under pressure to break open the piggy bank.

But still, some companies are keeping their cash hoards. The most notable holdout is Apple (AAPL), which is sitting on a mountain of about $42 billion. Cisco Systems (CSCO) has nearly as much.

Even the king of dividends, General Electric (GE), is getting back into the game. GE said this week it would have its dividend plan together by the end of the year, Dow Jones reports.

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