Friday, December 26, 2008

* Three Stocks Giving The Gift Of Increased Dividends

Christmas is a time of giving. Families and loved-ones give gifts to each other. Many people give money to the needy and charities, while others give their time to help those that are not quite as fortunate. It seems that everyone is involved in giving this time of year, even corporations. Some companies are giving the gift of nothing, others are giving something much more tangible!

Here are several companies sharing their holiday spirit by giving their shareholders a gift of increased dividends by raising their cash distributions to shareholders:

MAXIMUS, Inc.(MMS) Boosts Dividend by 20% $0.12/Share (1.40%)
This company provides consulting services and operations program management focused in the areas of health and human services primarily to government.

PreScreen: MMS has only paid dividends since 2005. Not a viable dividend investment at this time.

MOCON (MOCO) Increases Dividend 6% to $0.09/Share (4.59%)
This company makes equipment to test packages and packaging material, and performs consulting and analytical services.

PreScreen: MOCO had a NPV of MMA Differential of $4,175. Well below the $10,000 I require for a company that has only increased its dividend since 2005. Not a viable dividend investment at this time.

Dominion (D) Announces 11% Dividend Increase (5.05%)
This energy holding company's principal subsidiaries are Virginia Electric & Power Co. and Consolidated Natural Gas.

PreScreen: Since 1998 D has had a poor dividend record. Through 2003 its dividend was flat. Then after 2 years of increases its dividend was slashed 74% in 2006. After a dramatic increase in 2007, the dividend was cut again in 2008. D does not provide the consistency that dividend investors are looking for.

It doesn't appear there were any hidden jewels in these gifts, but as we were told as kids, 'It is the thought that counts.' The NPV of MMA Differential was calculated using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model.

Disclosure: No position in the aforementioned securities.

(Photo: Steve Woods)