It was just on Monday that we released the 24/7 Wall St. “12 Big Dividend Hikes Coming Before The End of 2012″ and we already have one of the twelve coming true. Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) just delivered on its dividend hike. This is not the last big hike coming.
Altria’s dividend hike was raised to $0.44 per quarter per share from $0.41… We predicted $0.44 or even $0.45 per share. The problem here is that Altria is paying out so much of its earnings at a time when case volume woes can only be offset by more price hikes. Price hikes are harder and harder to get when states can keep raising taxes collected per pack as well. At least Altria is back to paying 5.25% rather than about 4.8% for a dividend yield.
Investors should take today’s hike from Altria as a foreshadowing event for its international version Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM). The international tobacco giant is due for an imminent dividend hike as well and we are targeting the first half of September. For that hike.
So, who is next on the dividend hikes? We are about as certain as ever on these and expect at least 8 of these payout hikes to be announced. These include the following: American Electric Power Co. (NYSE: AEP); Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN); General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE); Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT); McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD); Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT); AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T); Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ); Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS); and Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM).
JON C. OGG