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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): Stocks Growing Their Dividends by 15% Per Year

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?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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 15% or more over the last year:

Company 1-Year Dividend Growth Rate
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) 18.2%
Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) 17.4%
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE:PEB) 16.7%
Retail Opportunity Investments Corp (NASDAQ:ROIC) 15.7%
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) 15%

Source: S&P Capital IQ

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is one of the largest integrated oil and gas companies in the world. It explores, produces, transports, and sells crude oil and natural gas. It also manufactures and markets commodity petrochemicals. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) currently has a four-star ranking on CAPS, and offers investors a 2.9% yield.

Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) is a leading North American rail freight carrier offering transportation services for petrochemicals and fertilizers, as well as agricultural, automotive, energy, and industrial products over nearly 32,000 miles of track. Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) currently sports a four-star rating in CAPS, and is yielding 2%.

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (NYSE:PEB) is a real estate investment trust that acquires and invests primarily in upscale U.S. hotel properties. Its holdings include the Doubletree Bethesda Hotel and Executive Meeting Center; Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and InterContinental Buckhead Hotel. CAPS participants have awarded Pebblebrook Hotel with the highest five-star rating, and the company is paying out a 2.4% dividend.

Retail Opportunity Investments Corp (NASDAQ:ROIC) is also a REIT, but it focuses on acquiring and revitalizing shopping centers in the eastern and western regions of the United States. With proven CEO Stuart Tanz at the helm, and a hefty 4.7% yield, Fools think ROIC deserves a top five-star CAPS rating.

Love it or hate it, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is a powerful force in the world of technology. Its ubiquitous Windows software is still the market leader by a wide margin when it comes to PC operating systems, and its Office software remains a key productivity application for many businesses around the world. Fools have given Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) a three-star rating in CAPS, and its stock is yielding 2.9%.

The article 5 Stocks Growing Their Dividends by 15% Per Year originally appeared on 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 Twitter @Tier1Investor. Joe has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and Retail Opportunity Investments. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, and Retail Opportunity Investments.

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

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