Friday, February 13, 2009

* 3M (MMM) and Manulife (MFC) Answer The Leadership Call

When the world appears to be collapsing in around you and things look their darkest, it is then when character is determined and leaders rise to the top. On Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for a new program that combines public and private capital to be used in a fund that will buy troubled assets of up to $1 trillion, aimed at unfreezing credit markets. The the markets were underwhelmed. Many companies, such as Harley-Davidson (HOG) and Dow Chemical (DOW), used this smoke screen to slash dividends, but in the midst of the turmoil, an American Aristrocrat and a Canadian Achievier stood tall.

3M Co. (MMM) is a diversified global company has operations in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer and office, telecommunications, safety and security, and other markets. On Wednesday its Board declared a dividend of $0.51/share, a 2% increase. The dividend is payable on March 12, 2009, to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 20, 2009. This is the 51st consecutive year the company has increased its dividend. 3M's Board also approved an extension to the company's $7 billion share repurchase authorization which would have expired this month. The stock's dividend yield is over 4%.

Manulife Financial (MFC) is a Canadian insurer that is among the world's largest life insurers, offering products and services mostly in North America and Asia. On Thursday, its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.26/share, payable on and after March 19, 2009 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 25, 2009. The stock's dividend yield is 5.80%. (stock analysis)

Other companies flexing their financial muscles with higher dividends include:
  • Compass Minerals (CMP) Raises Qtr. Dividend to $0.355/share (yield 2.36%)
  • QNB Corp. (QNBC) Increases Dividend to $0.355 (yield 2.36%)
  • Terra Nitrogen (TNH) Boosts Qtr. Dividend by 6% to $2.97/unit (yield 10.66%)
  • Northeast Utilities (NU) Raises Qtr. Dividend by 11.7% to $0.2375/share (yield 4.03%)
  • Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL) Increases Qtr. Dividend by 11.5% to $0.145/share (yield 1.51%)
  • Progress Energy (PGN) Boosts Qtr. Dividend to $0.62/share (yield 6.47%)
  • Honeywell (HON) Raises Quarterly Dividend to $0.3025/share (yield 3.80%)
  • APCapital (ACAP) Increases Quarterly Dividend 10% to $0.11/share (yield 0.98%)
  • Robert Half International (RHI) to Bumps Quarterly Dividend 9% to $0.12 (yield 2.7%)
Finally, the reining dividend champion, Diebold (DBD) increased its dividend 4% to %0.26/share for the company's 56th consecutive year. The company develops, makes, and services self-service transaction systems, electronic & physical security systems, and software used to equip bank facilities, voting terminals. The stock's dividend yield is 4.22%.

For other companies around the world with a string of consecutive dividend increases still in tact, see Dividends Value's Stock Ideas page.

Full Disclosure: Long MFC, PGN

Tags: [ACAP] [CMP] [DBD] [DOW] [HOG] [HON] [MFC] [MMM] [NU] [PGN] [QNBC] [RHI] [SIAL] [TNH]