Stock dividend information this week was led by networking products giant Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). The belle of the ball during the 1990s dot-com boom, Cisco stock went from 9 cents a share to over $77 a share (nearly 86,000%!) — but CSCO didn’t budge when it came to paying a dividend. Now more than a decade since the dot-com bust, and with the shares trading at a 52-week low, the “Cisco Kid” has finally decided to spread the wealth.
This dividend payout is way overdue for Cisco, but as the old adage goes — better late than never. Of course, Cisco wasn’t the only company making payout headlines. Here are the details on CSCO and eight other stocks increasing dividends last week.
First, the specifics on Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO). Last week the company announced its first-ever payout, declaring a quarterly cash dividend of 6 cents per share. The dividend will be payable on April 20 to shareholders of record as of March 31. Based on recent pricing around $17, Cisco’s dividend payout represents an annual yield of 1.4%. Cisco CEO Frank Calderoni commented on the move saying, “As the role of the network expands across the IT sector, Cisco’s leadership position in the markets we serve is strong, and the time is right for Cisco stock to pay our first-ever cash dividend. This dividend complements our leading position, and is an important part of our commitment to bring value to shareholders.”
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Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is another tech stock making dividend ways. HP’s announcement that it will raise its dividend for the first time in over a decade. The new payout is a whopping 50% increase in the amount of its regular quarterly dividend to 12 cents per share. The increase in the amount of the dividend will be effective when the HP board of directors declares its next dividend, which is expected in May. The company’s previously announced dividend, payable on April 6 for stockholders of record on March 16, will not be increased and will remain at 8 cents per share. HP made the announcement as part of its “strategy day” meeting between CEO Leo Apotheker and Wall Street analysts. HP intends to go to the “public cloud,” by selling services over the Internet that allow people to rent space on servers and to run websites.
Air Products & Chemicals (NYSE: APD) also increased its dividend. Air Productsis a leader in the industrial gas industry, and its products are used in a variety of applications including medical devices. Last month, APD scrapped plans to buy rival Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG), so instead it has used its cash to increase dividends and repurchase shares. The new quarterly dividend of 58 cents represents an 18% increase over the current payout. The dividend will be paid on May 9 to shareholders of record on April 1. APD has repurchased about $350 million worth of shares so far this year.
Ashland, Inc. (NYSE: ASH) increased its dividend too. The specialty chemicals company announced that it would increase its annual dividend to 70 cents per share from its current annual rate of 60 cents per share beginning with the June 15 dividend payout. The company also said its board approved a $400 million stock repurchase program.
Fulton Financial (NASDAQ: FULT) is a holding company operates 271 branches in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia through seven affiliate banks. The aforementioned areas are hot for local banks, and Fulton has been a big beneficiary of this regional boom. Last week the company said it would increase its dividend to 4 cents per share, or a 33% increase over the current payout. The new dividend will be paid on April 15 to shareholders of record as of March 28.
Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH). The mega-maker of well-known consumer products brands such as Coleman, Mr. Coffee and Sunbeam (among many others) upped its dividend profile last week. The company increased its quarterly payout by about 5% to 8.625 cents per share. The new dividend will be paid on April 29 to shareholders of record on April 1. The consumer stalwart has increased its payout each year since implementing its first dividend in 2009.
Patterson Companies (NASDAQ: PDCO). The suppliers of dental and veterinarian products increased its quarterly cash dividend to 12 cents per share from 10 cents. The new payout will be made on April 28 to shareholders of record as of April 11. The company also announced a hefty share repurchase plan of 25 million shares. Patterson’s new plan allows shares to be repurchased in the open market through March 15, 2016. The company plans to buy back about $150 million in common stock over the next 12 months.
Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM). The home decoration retailer—which also operates the Pottery Barn chain—reported a 28% surge in fourth-quarter net income on strong sales both online, and at its outlet stores. Along with the company’s better-than-expected earnings release, Williams-Sonoma decorated its dividend to shareholders, upping its quarterly payout by 13% to 17 cents per share from 15 cents per share. The spruced-up dividend will be paid on May 24 to shareholders of record as of April 27.
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX). The semiconductor maker powered-up its payout to shareholders, as its board approved an increase in its quarterly dividend to 19 cents per share from 16 cents. The company last raised its dividend in October 2009. The new dividend is payable June 8 to shareholders of record as of May 18. Xilinx also reaffirmed its sales forecast for the current quarter, saying revenue is expected to be flat to up about 5%, sequentially. That forecast does, however, assume that customers in Japan have not been affected by the earthquake and its aftermath.
At the time of publication, Jim Woods held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.