Wal-Mart Continues Tradition Of Dividend Hikes
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), the world's largest retailer, has joined the parade of Dow stocks to raise their dividends in recent weeks by announcing an 11% increase to its annual dividend. Wal-Mart will now pay $1.21 a share for 2010 up from $1.09 a share in 2009.
In a statement, Wal-Mart said it will return $4.5 billion to shareholders this year.
Arkansas-based Wal-Mart certainly has the cash to raise its dividend. Last month, the company said free cash flow rose to $14.1 billion in 2009 from $11.6 billion in 2008.
Wal-Mart boosted its dividend by 15% in 2009 and has increased its payout every since paying its first dividend in 1974.
The new dividend is payable on April 5th to shareholders of record on March 12th.
Based on Thursday's closing price, Wal-Mart shares would yield 2.24% when factoring in the new payout.
That's above the current yield of 2%, but below the average Dow yield of 2.8%.
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