The conventional wisdom is that Oracle's (ORCL) typically strong 4th quarter fiscal report disappointed investors. The lower than expected report overshadowed three bits of news that should be a strong signal to long term investors, especially dividend re-investors.
The big news is that Oracle's board authorized a dividend increase of 100%. A double, from 6 cents to 12 cents per share. In August, the company will pay a dividend yield of 1.4% which would result in an annual dividend of 48 cents per share.
Secondly, Oracle has increased its stock buyback program by $12 billion.
By all three accounts, this enterprise is starting to look and act like the $142 billion company that it is. It may be a perfect play for a dividend re-investment program. Back in 2006, when Oracle started its multi-billion dollar buying spree of companies, most analysts predicted a failed strategy. Oracle began 2006 at $13.12. After two consecutively bruising quarters, it's at $30 and change. (Source: Yahoo Finance)
This strategy of rolling up smaller rivals may have now matured, but over the last 8 years, Oracle has beefed up its offerings and embedded its tentacles even deeper into some of the biggest businesses and governments around the globe. The world is not going to quit Oracle anytime soon. IT departments may have issues from time to time with Oracle software (or any software for that matter), but no company is going to dump its databases, software, and years of training, and switch to another company-- not overnight. People will continue to employ Oracle (and Microsoft (MSFT)) products for a very long time, which is why both companies are excellent long term dividend plays.
However, Dividend.com does not agree. "Oracle Corporation (ORCL) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars."
A forward thinking investor can use Microsoft's dividend trajectory to extrapolate a reasonable conclusion about Oracle and its dividend's possible flight path. Microsoft is now paying 2.7% or 92 cent a share. It may not be fun or sexy to trade Oracle any more, but a 100% increase in income is still doubling your money.
The result of Friday's news is that Oracle Corporation is increasing its dividend much like Microsoft and other stocks with long dividend increase histories such as McDonald's (MCD) and Procter & Gamble (PG). For the patient investor, Oracle could become a dividend darling. It suffices to say that Oracle is now well worth considering for a dividend and income portfolio. At today's bargain price, it seems like an opportune time to stock up on this stock. And start or restart a DRIP, or dividend re-investment program.
Oracle may be a DRIP, but drip by drip, a stream becomes a river.