This week’s dividend news was dominated by tech titan Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). On Monday, the company surprised Wall Street with the announcement that it would begin paying its first-ever quarterly dividend. The dividend will begin in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2012, which start in July. The $2.65 per-share quarterly dividend implies about a 1.76% annual yield when measured by the closing price on Friday, March 16.
Apple said its board of directors will officially declare the dividend payout, as well as the official dividend dates, sometime in the next few months. Apple also said its board approved a three year, $10 billion share buyback program that will begin in fiscal 2013.
The Apple news was great for income investors who want to take climb aboard the Mac bus. And while the company’s announcement was the biggest by far on the dividend front this week, a bevy of other high-profile companies also moved to increase their payout to shareholders.
Here are six companies increasing dividends.
Regional finance holding firm Fulton Financial (NASDAQ:FULT) filled out its dividend card with a 16.7% increase in its quarterly payout. The new dividend of 7 cents per share will be paid April 13 to shareholders of record as of April 2. The new dividend yield, based on the March 20 closing price of $10.56 (the day the dividend was announced), is 2.65%.
Multi-bank financial holding firm International Bancshares (NASDAQ:IBOC) gave 5.25% more to shareholders, as the company upped its quarterly payout to 20 cents per share. The new dividend is payable April 20 to shareholders of record as of April 2. The new dividend yield, based on the March 22 closing price of $20.55, is 1.95%. The company also announced the extension of its stock repurchase program of up to $40 million of its common stock during the 12 month period commencing on April 9.
Defense contracting giant Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) came out with guns blazing on its quarterly payout, boosting its dividend 16% to 50 cents per share. The new dividend payload will be delivered May 3 to shareholders of record as of April 4. The new dividend yield, based on the March 21 closing price of $51.50, is 3.88%.
Retailer Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG), which operates the Kay Jewelers and Jared jewelry stores, gave a little bling to shareholders in the form of a 20% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 12 cents per share. The new dividend yield, based on the March 22 closing price of $49.21, is .98%.
Office furniture maker Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) outfitted shareholders with a 50% bump in its quarterly payout to 9 cents per share. The new dividend furnishings will arrive on or before April 11 to shareholders of record as of April 2. The new dividend yield, based on the March 22 closing price of $9.29, is 3.88%. The company also said it repurchased $6.7 million of shares in the fourth quarter, and has $153 million still available under its existing share repurchase authorization.
REIT and investment management firm W.P. Carey & Co. (NYSE:WPC) increased the rent it pays unitholders by a slight 0.44% to 56.5 cents per share. The new payment will be delivered April 16 to unitholders of record as of March 30. The new dividend yield, based on the March 19 closing price of $46.24, is 4.89%.
At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.