Companies are continuing to increase their dividends, and it's not in just one or two industries. The dividend-raisers last week were all across several sectors and industries, including the shipping, oil, computer and financial industries.

Stockpickr has reviewed all the dividend-payers for the week and compiled a list of the top dividend-raisers.

A stock with one of the biggest dividend increases is Nordic American Tanker Shipping (NAT), which boosted its quarterly dividend by 36%. This crude oil tanker company reported that its second-quarter earnings rose an incredible 70% to $1.60 per quarter, aided by the higher rates for its vessels; however, its results were below analysts' expectations. The stock has a P/E of 25.5 and a yield of 16.1%.

Nordic shows up in the Stockpickr portfolio called Shipping Dry Bulk, which lists various types of shipping companies. Other stocks in the portfolio include Excel Maritime Carriers (EXM), with a yield of 1.9%; Aegean Marine Petroleum Network (ANW), with a yield of 0.1%; and Diana Shipping (DSX), with a 11.5% yield.

Another dividend-raiser is Badger Meter (BMI), which increased its quarterly dividend by 22.2% to 11 cents per share. The manufacturer of flow measurement and control products reported in July that its second-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectation, with a 26% increase in net income. However, the stock was recently downgraded by Boenning & Scattergood from market outperform to market perform. The stock has a P/E of 36, a PEG of 2.53 and a yield of 0.8%.

Badger is owned by the Heartland Value Fund, managed by William J. Nasgovitz, and has had an average annual return of 15.7% over its 22-year history. Heartland also owns Alaska Air Group (ALK), Swift Energy (SFY), and InterDigital (IDCC), none of which pays a dividend.

Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is another dividend-raiser, bumping up its dividend by 11% to 31 cents per share. The company is a manufacturer of steel and plastic strapping, plastic stretch film, paper and plastic products, as well as metal jacketing insulation products, power systems, arc welding equipment, microelectronics products and other industrial products. Its revenues from the latest three months rose 11.4%. The stock has a P/E of 15, a PEG of 1.21 and a yield of 2.5%.

Illinois Tool is favored by Arnold Van Den Berg, chairman of Van Den Berg Management, which was founded in 1974. He has achieved a compound annual return of 15.6% over the last 30 years. Other stocks he likes include Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), with a 1.6% yield; 3M (MMM), with a 2.7% yield; and Wells Fargo (WFC), with a 4.5% yield.

For the complete list of top companies increasing their dividends for the week, check out the Dividend Raisers for the Week portfolio at

Posted on Aug. 18, 2008