Pumped Up Payouts
Steadily rising dividends at a company are a good sign for stock-pickers. The Out-look, Standard & Poor's investment newsletter, has a list of outfits that have boosted cash payouts each year--and outstripped the overall market. In total return, $1,000 invested in the S&P 500 in 1985 was worth $4,743 at the end of July. The Top 10 dividend boosters double that or better. Merck, No.1 on the list, just announced a typical payout hike, from 30 cents to 34 cents for its fourth quarter.
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