The race is on for ways to escape the ravages of rising prices.
One popular way to sidestep the inflation boogieman is with stocks that pay dividends that increase annually — like clockwork. There are just seven stocks, including supplement maker Mead Johnson Nutrition, money transmitter Western Union and oil driller Helmerich & Payne, that consistently increased their dividends and took them up by a compound average annual rate of 30% or more a year the past five years, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ. To make the list, the stock needed to increase the dividend each and every year out of the past five years and be a member of the Standard & Poor's 500.
Rising dividends are a big comfort to investors who are afraid of rising prices and increasing interest rates, two mounting concerns in the market. Financial instruments that pay flat or slowly increasing income streams can become unattractive in times of inflation or rising interest rates. Rising dividends allow investors to fight back.