What do you do when the economy tanks and the stock market follows suit, but you are still generating a lot of cash? Many people would look for bargains in the market. Wal-Mart (WMT) [analysis] has done just that.
On June 5th, WMT announced a new share repurchase program that gives the company authorization to repurchase $15 billion of its shares. The new plan replaces the previous $15 billion program, which was announced June 1, 2007 and had approximately $3.4 billion of remaining authorization.
CEO Mike Duke said, “We remain committed to returning value to our shareholders through share repurchase and dividends.” In the last five years Wal-Mart has repurchased approximately $21 billion worth of its shares, Duke said. In addition, WMT raised its dividend in 2009 by 15% to $1.09/share.
Below are some companies rewarding their shareholders with increasing cash dividends:
- VSE Corporation (VSEC) increased its dividend to $0.20/share annually, yielding 0.76%
- Oil-Dri Corporation (ODC) raised its dividend 7% to $0.15/share, yielding 3.00%
- Florida Public Utilities (FPU) bumped its quarterly dividend 2.1% to $0.12/share, yielding 3.71%
- C. R. Bard (BCR) boosted its quarterly dividend 6% to $0.17/share, yielding 0.93%
- Clorox (CLX) increased its dividend 8.7% to $0.50/share, yielding 3.73% – Analysis
- Target (TGT) raised its quarterly dividend 6% to $0.17/share, yielding 1.72%
- National Fuel Gas (NFG) bumped its quarterly dividend by 3.1% to $0.335/share, yielding 3.76%
One sign of confident and competent management is willingness and ability to raise their company’s dividend during a severe economic downturn. For companies with a long string of consecutive dividend increases, see this list.
Full Disclosure: Long WMT, CLX. See a list of all my income holdings here.