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Dividend Roundup: MDT, EDR, AI, HIFS, PFE, BMY

Here are the five latest dividend-related developments featured on The Dynamic Dividend:

Medtronic's Smallest Dividend Hike Since 1985

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.2425 per share today, pushing its payout higher by 7.8%. This marks the 34th consecutive year the medical technology company has given its shareholders a raise.

As the company notes in the press release, Medtronic has more than doubled its payout over the past five years. But its dividend growth is slowing down. This is Medtronic’s smallest dividend hike since it gave shareholders a 5% raise in 1985, and its last three increases have all been for less than 10% — a mark it failed to top only once in the previous 20 years.

Last month when I gave readers a heads up that this dividend hike was coming, I said it would be interesting to see if Medtronic would feel confident enough to get back to double-digit dividend growth. I guess not.

Shares of MDT are currently trading at $38.02, where they now feature a 2.55% dividend yield.

Medtronic, which has raised its dividend every year since 1978, qualifies as a Class C Dividend Dynamo.

Education Realty Trust Boosts Dividend by 40%

Education Realty Trust Inc. (EDR) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.07 per share this morning, pushing its payout higher by 40%. This is the first time the collegiate housing REIT, which has reduced its payout several times, has given its shareholders a raise.

Shares of EDR closed Wednesday’s session trading at $8.38, where they now feature a 3.34% dividend yield.

Education Realty Trust initiated its quarterly dividend at $0.30 per share in the summer of 2005, but spent the next three-plus years dwindling it down to $0.05 per share, where it stood for each of the last seven quarters.

Arlington's Dividend Hits Another All-Time High

Arlington Asset Investment Corp. (AI) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.875 per share after today’s closing bell, a 17% increase over its previous payout and a 150% improvement over the dividend paid during the same period last year by the principal investment firm.

Arlington, which invests primarily in mortgage-related assets but is not a real estate investment trust, has now raised its dividend three times since reinstating its quarterly payout in February 2010. Prior to suspending its dividend in 2007, the company (then known as “Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc.” and trading under ticker symbol “FBR”) never extended its quarterly dividend beyond $0.46 per share.

Shares of AI closed Thursday’s session trading at $30.64, where they now yield 11.42%.

Hingham Delivers Yet Another Dividend Increase

Hingham Institution For Savings (HIFS) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share this morning, pushing its payout higher by 4.2%. The savings bank is currently on pace to improve its dividend output for the 16th* time in the last 17 years.

Hingham has regularly raised its quarterly dividend since it began returning cash to shareholders in 1994, and has tacked a substantial special dividend onto its first quarter payout in each of the last 16 years — including a special dividend of $0.25 per share back in January.

Shares of HIFS opened Thursday’s session trading at $52.51, where the new quarterly dividend rate produces a 1.90% yield. Counting its first quarter special dividend, the company is on pace to distribute $1.23 per share to investors in 2011 — that’s 7.0% better than last year’s output, and 2.34% of its current stock price.

*Hingham states in the linked press release they’ve “increased cash dividends declared to shareholders in each of the past 17 years” (emphasis mine). This is technically true, but a bit misleading if you’re as fastidious about dividend growth streaks as I am: If you held the stock every day in 2006 and 2007, you received $1 per share in each year, which means you experienced zero dividend growth regardless of what was actually declared.

Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Surge on Blood Thinner Study

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) are among the few stocks in the green today thanks to promising results from a clinical study of blood thinner Eliquis.

Eliquis, also known as apixaban, is being co-developed by the two pharmaceutical giants to help prevent strokes in patients with irregular heartbeats. The companiesannounced this morning that preliminary results from a Phase III clinical trial showed it was at least as effective as leading blood thinner warfarin, which is currently available generically but difficult to take and can cause serious side effects.

Shares of PFE have popped as high as $20.96 (+3.35%) today, where they feature a 3.82% dividend yield. The company has raised its dividend twice — including an 11% hike in December — since ending years of dividend growth by halving its payout in 2009.

Share of BMY have rocketed as high as $29.54 (+6.49%), which is a new 52-week high. At that level, the stock yields 4.47%. Bristol-Myers has given its shareholders just four raises in the last ten years, most recentlyincreasing its payout by 3% in December.

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