Dividends4Life: One Titan Stands Strong As The Financials Wither

The week before last we mentioned that JPMorgan (JPM), the second-largest U.S. bank, slashed its dividend by 87% to $0.05. Possibly that wasn't quite enough to keep keep big brother happy, so JPM took their quarterly dividend down to $0.01/share. The dividend is to be paid on Friday, April 3, 2009 to common stockholders of record as of Friday, March 20, 2009. JPM closed down 8.14% - it is always good to deliver bad news twice.

Last Wednesday, following in JPM's footsteps, U.S. Bancorp (USB) slashed its dividend by 88% to $0.05/share. U.S. Bancorp Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Richard K. Davis said, "The decision to reduce our quarterly dividend was thoughtfully considered and very difficult, given the importance of the dividend to our shareholders." USB closed down 12.48% after the announcement. Then dropped another 18.2% on Thursday.

While the financials continue to wither, some companies are designed to flourish in these difficult economic times. Last Thursday, Wal-Mart (WMT) reported that same store sales, ex-fuel, for the month rose 5.1%, and its Board increased the quarterly dividend 15% to $0.2725/share. WMT's dividend now yields around 2%. This is the 35th consecutive year WMT has raised its dividend. CEO Mike Duke said, "The strength of our operations and the resulting strong financial position allow us to increase our dividend payout to shareholders again this year. Our free cash flow remains strong enough to fund Wal-Mart's growth around the world, make strategic acquisitions and fund returns to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases."

Other companies are poised to perform by raising their cash dividends to shareholders. Here are several that have recently done just that:

  • Qualcomm (QCOM) lifts its qtr. dividend 6% to $0.17/share (yield 1.84%)
  • General Dynamics (GD) boosts its qtr. dividend 8.6% to $0.38/share (yield 3.48%)
  • WGL Holdings (WGL) raises its quarterly dividend 3.5% to $0.3675/share (yield 4.68%)
For more companies around the world with a long string of consecutive dividend increases, see Dividends Value's Stock Ideas page.

Full Disclosure: Long WMT

(Photo: Steve Woods)


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2 comments

  1. Anonymous // March 11, 2009 at 8:24 PM

    D4L,

    I wonder if any of the Dividend bloggers have looked at the pension underfunding topic brought up by Tyler Durden today, there are alot of big companies here with a history of increasing dividends on the list:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/124655-pension-underfunding-the-next-earnings-shock

  2. Anonymous // March 11, 2009 at 8:40 PM

    Lightway: Pension funding is a real issue. You don't want your funding status to fall below 80%. With that said, I was somewhat surprised to see JNJ at 70%. When the market is down, you suffer of several fronts!

    Best Wishes,
    D4L

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