January 06, 2012 at 12:35 PM EST
5 Companies Increasing Dividends
Cabot Oil and DDR are among the top payout boosters during what's normally a very quiet time for such announcements.

The final week of one year and the first week of the next don’t usually bring a whole lot of big news on the dividend front. The turning of the calendar generally means quiet time for companies, many of which don’t think this is the best time to announce any fiscal alterations. However, the transition from 2011 to 2012 did see a few big-name firms announce increased payouts to shareholders.

During the final throes of 2011, Peoples Financial (NASDAQ:PFBX), the parent company of The Peoples Bank, raised the payout on its semiannual dividend 11.1% to 10 cents per share. Shareholders of the Mississippi Gulf Coast regional banking firm will receive the new dividend on Jan. 17, provided they own the stock by Jan. 10. The new dividend yield, based on the Dec. 28 closing price of $9.96 (the day the dividend was announced), is 2.01%.

On Jan. 3, the inaugural trading day of 2012, another regional bank holding company, Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ:OZRK), boosted its dividend to 11 cents per share, a 10% increase over the previous payout. The new dividend will be paid on Jan. 20 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 13. The new dividend yield, based on the Jan. 3 closing price of $30, is 1.47%.

Also on Jan. 3, real estate investment trust LTC Properties (NYSE:LTC), which specializes in health care facilities, made a move to improve the condition of its shareholders. The company raised its monthly dividend payout to 14.5 cents per month, an approximate 3.6% increase from the previous monthly payout. The new dividend will begin being paid on Jan. 31 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 23. The new dividend yield, based on the Jan. 3 closing price of $31.17, is 5.65%.

The following day (Jan. 4) energy giant Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) pumped up its quarterly dividend payment by 33% to 4 cents per share. The new payout will be made on Feb. 3 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 17. The company also announced a two-for-one stock split that also will be issued on Jan. 17. The new dividend yield, based on the Jan. 4 closing price of $82.32, is 0.19%.

On Jan. 5, discount shopping center REIT Developers Diversified Realty (NYSE:DDR) raised the rent it pays to shareholders by a whopping 50% to 12 cents per share. The beefed-up dividend is payable Apr. 3 to shareholders of record as of March 16. The new dividend yield, based on the Jan. 5 closing price of $12.62, is 3.80%.

Disclosure: At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

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