Anytime there's a $40 billion transaction being announced, you take notice. That's the case for Microsoft, which set a massive stock buyback program along with a dividend increase on Tuesday, two days ahead of a highly anticipated investor meeting.
Microsoft is trying to make a pledge to shareholders that it will remain friendly by authorizing a $40 billion stock buyback program, replacing the prior $40 billion stock buyback plan set to expire at the end of this month.
It also boosted its quarterly dividend by 22 percent to 28 cents per share. On Thursday this week, shareholders will learn from Microsoft about its plans to replace Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who is expected to retire within a year.
Microsoft is not alone, though; there are a host of other companies that could be candidates for dividend increases.
The Nasdaq Dividend Achievers Index looks at US companies that are traded on either the Nasdaq or NYSE and have raised their yearly dividend payments for at least the last 10 years.
Three of the stocks caught our eye.
Oil giant Chevron currently has a dividend yield of over 3 percent. It's also fresh off boosting its dividend back in April. Over 9 percent of its assets are cash, and they have significantly more cash than they do debt on their balance sheet.
Coca-Cola is also yielding around 3 percent. Nearly 20 percent of its assets are in cash; it also has a lot of liquid assets as a percentage of debt.
There's also Abbot Labs. It's not yielding as much as the others, but it's got 23 percent of its assets in cash along with relatively low levels of debt.
Those are just three of the companies that have those characteristics. Below are some other names that investors may want to consider.