Breaking news:
Australian companies to raise dividends

By: Brendon Lau

It's been a nail-biter of a reporting season here in the first half of 2018. Companies across Australia have been surprising the market with earnings news. But the real action, in my opinion, is what companies are doing with dividends.

Data from Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) shows that the ratio of companies (under its coverage) reporting better-than-forecast dividends to less-than-expected dividends is 1.5 to 1.

In layman's terms, there are 50% more beats than misses. I am not sure if that is a record but that's a darn pretty noteworthy figure.

What's it all mean? SMSF and income seeking investors should rejoice! But even growth-minded investors should sit up and notice as the dividend trend is telling.

5 ASX companies raising dividends today

A lift in dividends is effectively a sign that management is bullish about the company's near to medium-term outlook.

There have been a number of large caps that have lifted their dividend payments even as they posted worse-than-expected results. This includes fast food chain Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd. ASX: DMP, wealth manager AMP Limited ASX: AMP, and mining giant BHP Billiton Limited, ASX: BHP.

However, the companies on Macquarie's list that have delivered the biggest dividend surprises so far include mining services group Mineral Resources Limited ASX: MIN, insurer Suncorp Group Ltd. ASX: SUN, too.

And our very top idea for dividend seekers is…

Looking for a fresh investment idea? You're in the right place then.

There is one stock I've found that could very well turn out to be THE best buy of 2018. And while there's no such thing as a 'sure thing' when it comes to investing – this ripper might come as close as I've ever seen.

This "dirt cheap" company is growing like gangbusters, AND currently trading on a fat dividend yield. With interest rates at record lows and look to stay that way for years to come, this ASX company could be the "Holy Grail" of dividend plays for 2018. If you're looking for income that has steadily grown and the potential of a fat pay out at the end, I think this company is hard to beat.

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Returns as of 22/2/18. Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of BHP Billiton Limited, Boral Limited, Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited, and Macquarie Group Limited. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips. For more information about The Motley Fool see our Financial Services Guide. All returns cited are hypothetical and based on the percentage change between the stock price at the time of recommendation and the current or sell price (if the position has been closed) at the time of publication. Brokerage, taxes and any other associated costs are not taken into account. Please remember that investments can go up and down. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns. Performance figures are not intended to be a forecast and The Motley Fool does not guarantee the performance of, or returns on any investment. Any money back guarantee is strictly limited to the subscription price paid for the product.