Ecolab Inc. (ECL), Fastenal Company (FAST), CSX Corporation (CSX): Other Reasons To Value Dividend Growth So Highly

Dividend investors would be wise to focus not just on a stock's current yield, but also on the long-term growth potential of its dividends. That's because strong businesses that consistently raise their dividend payouts reward shareholders with a steadily rising income stream that essentially equates to a raise every year. And, well, who doesn't like a raise?

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL)

But there are other reasons to value dividend growth so highly, and they're well supported by research. For instance, a study by C. Thomas Howard published in Advisor Perspectives found that for every percentage point a stock's yield rises, its annual return increases by 0.22 percentage points if it's a large cap, 0.25 if it's a mid cap, and 0.46 if it's a small cap. Even better, Howard found that dividend-growing stocks outperformed dividend cutters by 10 percentage points per year from 1973 to 2010 and beat both flat- and no-dividend stocks. And the icing on the cake is that Howard showed that this outperformance came with a third less volatility. Higher returns, less volatility-induced stress, and a steadily growing income stream -- what's not to love?

With that in mind, here are five stocks that have grown their dividends by more than 10% over the past year.

Company 1-Year Dividend Growth Rate
Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) 14.8%
Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) 14.8%
CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) 14%
Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) 12.5%
Teck Resources Ltd (USA) (NYSE:TCK) 12.5%

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) provides cleaning and related products and services to the hospitality, food-service, health-care, and industrial markets. CAPS participants have awarded Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) with a top five-star rating, and the company is paying out a growing 1% dividend.

Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) operates as a wholesaler and retailer of industrial and construction supplies. Its product lineup includes fastener products such as bolts, nuts, screws, studs, and related washers; and miscellaneous supplies and hardware consisting of various pins and machinery keys, concrete anchors, metal framing systems, wire ropes, strut products, rivets, and related accessories. Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) currently has a four-star ranking on CAPS and offers investors a 2.2% yield.

CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) provides rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck services that together help to make it one of the leading transportation companies in the United States. Fools appreciate the wide competitive moat surrounding CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX)'s rail network -- as well as its rising 2.4% dividend -- and have given it a top five-star rating in CAPS.

Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) is a global manufacturer of organic and inorganic chemical products including polyurethane chemicals, epoxy resin compounds and formulations, textile chemicals and dyes, and titanium dioxide. Huntsman Corporation (NYSE:HUN) sports a four-star rating in CAPS and is yielding 2.8%.

Teck Resources Ltd (USA) (NYSE:TCK) engages in the exploration, acquisition, and production of natural resources, including copper, steelmaking coal, gold, silver, and specialty metals. In addition, it holds ownership interests in oil sands projects in the Athabasca region of Alberta. Teck Resources Ltd (USA) (NYSE:TCK) has a four-star CAPS rating and offers investors a 3.4% dividend.

The article 5 Stocks Growing Their Dividends by More Than 10% Per Year originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Joe Tenebruso.

Joe Tenebruso manages a Real-Money Portfolio for The Motley Fool and is an analyst on the Fool's Stock Advisor and Supernova premium service teams. You can connect with him on TwitterL @Tier1Investor. Joe has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of CSX and Ecolab.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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