It's always a healthy sign when a company raises its annual payout to investors. All the more so when it has a long history of doing so. Here are a few companies that recently upped their yearly dividends.

IN PICTURES: Learn To Invest In 10 Steps

PennantPark Investment Corp. (Nasdaq:PNNT) just raised its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share, a rise of 4.2% that brings the yearly yield to a very sumptuous 11.75%. The stock is up this year by 240% and trades with a P/E of just 5. PennantPark is a closed-end investment fund with a stable of investments that runs the gamut, from retail to aerospace. The company focuses on providing debt and taking equity positions in middle-market private companies. PNNT stock trades at just 72% of the firm's breakup value.

Reliable Utilities Raise Payouts
The Laclede Group (NYSE:LG) is a supplier of natural gas to customers in the Metro St. Louis area. Late last week, the company raised its dividend to 39.5 cents per share, offering investors a 4.95% annual yield.

LG stock trades with a P/E of 10.9 and a price to book ratio of 1.35. Price to sales on the shares is just 0.37.

NSTAR (NYSE:NST) is another company in the energy delivery business, serving clients in Massachusetts. The company now pays a 4.8% annual dividend after raising its quarterly payout by 6.7% to 40 cents a share.

2 Long-Term Dividend Raisers
Lancaster Colony Corp. (Nasdaq:LANC) has an uninterrupted 47-year history of increasing its annual dividend. Most recently, the company upped its quarterly payout by 5.3% to 30 cents per share. The yield on the stock is currently 2.45% and the price/earnings ratio is 12.8.

Lancaster Colony derives the bulk of its income from the retail food and food service industries, to which it supplies numerous specialty products.

Automatic Data Processing (Nasdaq:ADP) is one of the world's largest providers of outsourcing solutions, including payroll and other human resources and administrative operations. ADP recently raised their quarterly payout 3% to 34 cents, resulting in a current dividend yield of 3.1%.

The Bottom Line
Companies that raise their dividends in times like these should be looked upon with a good measure of credibility. Those that have done so through thick and thin for three or four decades - that honor shareholders with such regularity - should be treated with an extra measure of respect. (To learn more, read Dividend Facts You May Not Know.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Starbucks: Profiting One Cup at a Time (SBUX)

    Starbucks is everywhere. But is it a worthwhile business? Ask the shareholders who've made it one of the world's most successful companies.
  2. Stock Analysis

    How Medtronic Makes Money (MDT)

    Here's the story of an American medical device firm that covers almost every segment in medicine and recently moved to Ireland to pay less in taxes.
  3. Investing News

    Latest Labor Numbers: Good News for the Market?

    Some economic numbers are indicating that the labor market is outperforming the stock market. Should investors be bullish?
  4. Investing News

    Stocks with Big Dividend Yields: 'It's a Trap!'

    Should you seek high yielding-dividend stocks in the current investment environment?
  5. Investing News

    Should You Be Betting with Buffett Right Now?

    Following Warren Buffett's stock picks has historically been a good strategy. Is considering his biggest holdings in 2016 a good idea?
  6. Products and Investments

    Cash vs. Stocks: How to Decide Which is Best

    Is it better to keep your money in cash or is a down market a good time to buy stocks at a lower cost?
  7. Investing News

    Who Does Cheap Oil Benefit? See This Stock (DG)

    Cheap oil won't benefit most companies, but this retailer might buck that trend.
  8. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Performance Review: Emerging Markets Equities in 2015

    Find out why emerging markets struggled in 2015 and why a half-decade long trend of poor returns is proving optimistic growth investors wrong.
  10. Investing News

    Today's Sell-off: Are We in a Margin Liquidation?

    If we're in market liquidation, is it good news or bad news? That party depends on your timeframe.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center