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Recent Dividend Increases

As a dividend growth investor, one of the primary objectives I seek is passive dividend income from my investments that increases over the rate of inflation, annually. It's always wonderful news when companies decide to reward loyal long-term shareholders with a dividend raise. Some recent dividend increases include:

Southside Bancshares, Inc. (SBSI) recently declared its quarterly dividend at $0.20, which wasn't a raise. But check this out. They announced not one, but two special dividends to be paid out with their normal quarterly dividend. They are going to pay a special dividend of $0.20 per share as well as another special dividend of $0.13 per share. This is a total of $0.53 to be paid out to shareholders on December 6, 2012. Recently, SBSI made my shopping list for November. Alas, I didn't add to it before the recent price in its share price. I purchased shares in other companies instead, which I'll be discussing soon. This is a solid community bank, in my opinion.

Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) raised its dividend 2.5% recently, now paying $0.41 per share quarterly over its previous rate of $0.40. You can look at this two ways. First, 2.5% is probably disappointing to many shareholders. Keep in mind, however, that this is its 56th year of consecutive dividend raises. For that kind of security I'm willing to give management the benefit of the doubt and allow them to maintain an air of conservatism in the current economy. I do hope that shareholders will be more amply rewarded in future raises.  

AT&T Inc. (T) now has 29 years of consecutive dividend growth behind it, with a recent raise in the quarterly dividend from $0.44 per share to $0.45 per share. This was to be expected, and follows what has been $0.01 annual raises in the quarterly dividend over the last few years. I'm okay with a 2.3% raise on this one, as it was expected and the high yield makes up for the lower growth. 

Visa Inc. (V) has been on quite a dividend growth streak lately. It recently announced an increase in the quarterly dividend, with a new rate of $0.33 per share. That's a raise of 50% over the last quarterly dividend of $0.22. I think V is going to be quite a strong dividend growth story going forward, and really regret passing on this stock around $90 per share at the end of last year because of a low entry yield. It's now firmly out of my buy range. 

What do you think of these moves?

Full Disclosure: Long T, SBSI, EMR

Thanks for reading.

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