Lost in the myriad of stories hitting the markets last week were several key dividend announcements. Not only did we see another slew of companies increasing their dividend programs, but companies are stressing to investors that they are refocusing on returning cash to their shareholders. Tim Horton's (THI
), Altria and Home Depot all announced dividend increases this week and also raised their targeted dividend payout ratio. These are various bullish signals for dividend investors as companies are now refocusing on their shareholders and providing solid dividend yields.
Retailer Gap (GPS) announced that they were raising their dividend by 18%. The stock currently yields 1.6% and has a solid track record of returning cash to their shareholders (having returned $8 billion over the last six years).
The Canadian coffee and donut chain raised their dividend by 30% and initiated a share buyback program. The company also increased their targeted dividend payout ratio to 30 – 35% signaling further dividend increases on the horizon.
Frontier Oil (FTO) is suspending their dividend program after posting their 3rd consecutive quarterly loss. The energy stock previously offered a 1.9% dividend yield.
Altria (MO) inched their quarterly dividend higher by $.01 to $.35. The cigarette maker now offers a current dividend yield of 7.0%. The company had previously announced that they are now targeting an 80% dividend payout ratio.
The owner of TJ Maxx and Marshall's retail stores boosted their dividend by 25% to $.15 per share. The retailer is also initiating a $1 billion share repurchase program.
Consumer products maker, Kimberley Clark (KMB), is increasing their quarterly dividend by 10%. The dividend stocks current yield now stands at 4.3% following the company's record cash flow in 2009.
Following solid quarterly results, Home Depot (HD) announced they are raising their dividend by 5%. This marked the first dividend increase since 2006 and the company signaled that they would be increasing their dividend each year going forward.