Walmart Increases Dividend for 39th Consecutive Year

Wal-Mart Stores announced today that the retail giant will increase their dividend by 9 percent to $.3975 per share each quarter.

Following the dividend increase, Walmart stock will offer investors a current yield of 2.7 percent based on yesterday’s closing price.

This marks the 39th consecutive year that the dividend aristocrat has increased their dividend payout.

“We are pleased that the strength of our financial position allows Walmart to again increase our dividend payout to shareholders,” said Mike Duke, Walmart president and chief executive officer. “Our free cash flow continues to fund store growth across all our markets, facilitate strategic acquisitions and deliver returns to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase. We returned $11.3 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase during fiscal 2012.

This year’s dividend increase is much smaller than the big dividend increase from Walmart last year. Last March, Walmart gave their shareholders a 21 percent dividend increase in hopes of propping up their lagging share price.

Walmart then followed the dividend increase up with a mega stock repurchase program in June.

The strategy seems to have worked. Since last year’s 21 percent dividend increase, WMT shares have gained 14 percent and have outpaced the 6 percent gain in the Dow Jones index.

Walmart management believes the company is back on track and poised to deliver strong results in fiscal 2013.

Walmart’s increased dividend will be paid out on April 4, 2012 to shareholders of record as of March 12, 2012.

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