Fifty-six years is a long time to do anything. In 1956 (56 years ago) a new car cost around $2,050. The U.S. population was 169 million and the world population was 2.8 billion. A gallon of gas in the U.S. cost 22 cents, while a loaf of bread cost 18 cents. Gold was $35 an ounce and silver was 90 cents an ounce. You could mail a letter first class for just 3 cents.
Elvis Presley made his first television appearance on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show. Ernie Kovacs becomes the host for NBC's The Tonight Show on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bob Barker makes his first appearance on Truth or Consequences. An estimated 45 million people watched The Wizard of Oz in its TV debut on CBS.
Around the World in 80 Days won the Academy Award for best motion picture. Yul Brynner in The King and I won best actor, while Ingrid Bergman won best actress in Anastasia. Norma Jean Mortenson changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Celebrities born in 1956 include Mel Gibson, Bill Maher, Joe Montana, Jerry Hall, Montel Williams and Terry Labonte.
The Platters were singing The Great Pretender. Elvis Presley released Hound Dog and Heartbreak Hotel. Dean Martin's hit was Memories are Made of This. Carl Perkins sang Blue Suede Shoes and Johnny Cash's hit song was I Walk the Line.
What were you doing 56 years ago in 1956. Some of use weren't even born. However, one company notched its first dividend increase in what would become an eye-popping 56-year continuous string. Who is this company? It is...
Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR)
The company engages in designing and supplying products and technology, and delivering engineering services and solutions to industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Nov. 6, the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.5% to $0.41 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 10, 2012, to stockholders of record Nov. 16, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 3.2%.
Below are several other companies that have recently increased their cash dividends to shareholders:
Utah Medical Products Inc. (NASDAQ:UTMD) produces medical devices for the healthcare industry primarily in the United States and Europe. Nov. 8, the company increased its quarterly dividend 2% to $0.245 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 28, 2012 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 13, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 2.9%.
Maiden Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:MHLD) provides reinsurance solutions to regional and specialty insurers primarily in the U.S. and Europe. Nov. 7, the company increased its quarterly dividend 12.5% to $0.09 per share. The dividend is payable on Dec. 17, 2012 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 1, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 4.3%.
Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) engages in the distribution, transmission, and storage of natural gas in the U.S. Nov. 7, the company increased its quarterly dividend 1.4% to $0.35 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 10, 2012, to shareholders of record on Nov. 26, 2012. This is the 25th consecutive year that the company has increased its dividend. The yield based on the new payout is 4.0%.
Universal Corporation (NYSE:UVV) operates as a leaf tobacco merchant and processor worldwide. Nov. 6, the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.0% to $0.50 per share. The dividend is payable Feb. 11, 2013, to common shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 14, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 4.0%.
Innophos Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:IPHS) engages in the production of mineral based specialty ingredients that are used in food, beverage, pharmaceutical, oral care and industrial end markets. Nov. 5, the company increased its quarterly dividend 30% to $0.35 per share. The dividend is payable Nov. 30, 2012 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 16, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 2.9%.
Vectren Corporation (NYSE:VVC) provides energy delivery services to residential, commercial, and industrial and other contract customers in Indiana and west central Ohio. Nov. 2, the company increased its quarterly dividend 1.4% to $0.355 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 3, 2012 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Nov. 15, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 4.9%.
Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE:FNF) provides title insurance, mortgage services, and diversified services in the U.S. Nov. 1, the company increased its quarterly dividend 14% to $0.16 per share. The dividend is payable Dec. 28, 2012, to stockholders of record as of Dec. 14, 2012. The yield based on the new payout is 2.9%.
Selecting stocks with increasing dividends is critical for an income growth strategy. The above list contains stocks that recently raised their dividends; it is not a list of recommend buys. As always, due diligence should be performed before buying or selling any stock. For a list of stocks with a long string of consecutive cash dividend increases, see this list.
Full Disclosure: Long EMR in my Dividend Growth portfolio an long VVC in my High-Yield Portfolio. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.
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