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Notable Dividend Hikes Today: APU, JNJ, TSCO, PFS, ACI, MEOH

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Dynamic Dividend

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These are the dividend hikes featured by The Dynamic Dividend today: Methanex Corporation (MEOH), Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI), Provident Financial Services, Inc. (PFS), Tractor Supply Company (TSCO), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), AmeriGas Partners L.P. (APU).

Methanex Gives First Dividend Hike in 3 Years

Methanex Corporation (MEOH) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.17 within its first quarter earnings report, pushing its payout higher by 10%.

Shares of MEOH opened today’s session trading at $33.36, where they now feature a 2.04% dividend yield.

This is the seventh time the world’s largest methanol supplier has increased its payout since initiating a quarterly dividend in 2002, but first time since May 2008.

Arch Coal Boosts Dividend by 10%

Arch Coal, Inc. (ACI) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.11 per share today, a 10% improvement over the $0.10 paid each of the previous four quarters by the coal producer. Arch is currently on pace to pay an increased dividend total for the eighth consecutive year.

Shares of ACI opened today’s session trading at $33.10, where they now feature a 1.33% dividend yield.

Arch Coal has increased its annual dividend total every year since 2004 via six rate increases. The company has boosted its payout by a total of 267% over that short span.

Provident Financial’s First Dividend Hike in Four Years

Provident Financial Services, Inc. (PFS) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share within today’s first quarter earning release, giving shareholders a 9.1% raise.

This is the first time Provident has increased its payout since a 10% boost in 2007.

Despite the recent flatness, the holding company for The Provident Bank has achieved impressive dividend growth during its abbreviated time as a dividend-payer. Since initiating its payout in 2003, Provident has raised its dividend eight times, and — unlike many of its peers — never reduced it. As a result, Provident has tripled its payout over that short period.

Shares of PFS opened today’s session trading at $14.29, where they now carry a 3.36% dividend yield.

Tractor Supply Raises Dividend For First Time

Tractor Supply Company (TSCO) announced a 71% increase to its dividend this morning, marking the first time the farm and ranch retail chain has given its shareholders a raise.

Tractor Supply declared a quarterly payout of $0.12 per share, a huge jump from the $0.07 paid each of its previous five quarters as a dividend-paying company.

In addition to the big dividend hike, Tractor Supply’s board nearly doubled the company’s share repurchase authorization, approving a $600 million increase to the existing balance of roughly $690 million.

Shares of TSCO opened today’s session trading at $61.14, where they now feature a 0.79% dividend yield.

Analysts currently expect Tractor Supply to earn $3.17 per share in 2012, giving the company a forward payout ratio of just over 15%. So while its current yield is obviously paltry, the company is perfectly capable of making this the first of many gigantic dividend hikes.

Johnson & Johnson’s Weakest Dividend Hike Ever

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.57 today, a 5.6% improvement over the $0.54 paid each of the previous four quarters by the health care giant. This represents the smallest payout increase in the company’s illustrious dividend-paying history. While this does mark the 49th consecutive year J&J has given its shareholders a raise, they’re certainly accustomed to receiving a bigger boost. Since 1986, the company’s annual dividend hike has only failed to top 10% on two occasions, and both have come within the last 24 months. Today’s dividend boost replaces the 6.5% increase in 2009 as the company’s least impressive.

Shares of JNJ opened today’s session trading at $65.39, where they now feature a 3.49% dividend yield.

AmeriGas Boosts Distribution by 5%

AmeriGas Partners L.P. (APU) declared a quarterly distribution of $0.74 per unit, a 5% increase over the $0.705 paid each of the previous four quarters by the retail propane marketer. This is the seventh consecutive year the partnership has increased its distribution. APU opened today’s session trading at $47.79, where it now yields 6.19%.

AmeriGas has raised its distribution every year dating back to 2005, boosting its quarterly payout by a total of 35% over that span.

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