Friday, April 24, 2009

* Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Increases Dividend For 47th Consecutive Year

Thursday, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) declared a 6.5% increase in its quarterly dividend rate, from $0.46/share to $0.49/share (yield: 3.6%). This follows last week's 10% increase from the other blue-chip ampersand company Proctor & Gamble (PG). JNJ's CEO William C. Weldon stated, "Given our strong financial position, confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson, and in recognition of our solid results in 2008, the Board has voted to increase the dividend for the 47th consecutive year." JNJ is engaged in the research and development, manufacture and sale of a range of products in the healthcare field. The Company has more than 250 operating companies within three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices and Diagnostics. (Analysis)

Below are several other companies joining JNJ and PG in rewarding their shareholders with higher cash dividends:
  • Southern Company (SO) raises annual dividend by 4.2% to $1.75/share, Yield: 5.94%
  • Coach (COH) initiates $0.30/share annual dividend, Yield: 1.32%
  • Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) bumps its quarterly dividend to $0.15/share, Yield: 4.93%
  • J. M. Smucker (SJM) boosts dividend 9.3% to $0.35/share, Yield: 3.65%
Just when it looked like the financials had got all the bad news aired, Morgan Stanley (MS) jumped in and filled the void. On Wednesday MS reduced its quarterly dividend to $0.05/share and decided to the change the company's fiscal year end to December. The Board of Directors declared a $0.016667 dividend per common share covering the period from December 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008. The total dividend of $0.066667 per common share covering the four month period from December 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 is payable on May 15, 2009 to shareholders of record on April 30, 2009.

It is always good to see the dividend raisers exert themselves. Hopefully this trend will continue as the fearful & fragile make way for the confident & capable. As a dividend investor, I look forward to the coming weeks. For more companies with a long string of consecutive dividend increases, see this list.

Full Disclosure: Long JNJ, PG. See a list of all my income holding here.

Tags: [COH] [HCBK] [JNJ] [MS] [PG] [SJM] [SO]