Intel (INTC) announced Friday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend by 15% to 18 cents per share, and said it's on track to have its "best year ever."
The dividend amounts to 72 cents per share on an annual basis, beginning with dividend paid for the first quarter of 2011. The previous quarterly dividend was 15.75 cents a share.
"Intel remains on track to have our best year ever and we continue to generate strong cash flows," said President and CEO Paul Otellini. "Our ongoing operational performance and confidence in our business going forward provide the ability to return more cash to shareholders."
Last month, the world's largest microchip maker reported better than expected third-quarter results, posting a 59% higher profit of $2.96 billion, or 52 cents a share, which beat Wall Street expectations of 50 cents a share. Revenue rose 18% to $11.1 billion. Intel also offered a fairly rosy outlook, saying revenue for the next quarter could come in between $11 billion and $11.8 billion.
Intel's results last month boosted investors' confidence in the technology sector and its prospects, but that confidence was shaken earlier this week when Cisco Systems (CSCO) results revealed severe slowdowns in spending by governments, and the world's No. 1 maker of computer networking equipment offered a gloomy outlook. Intel's dividend hike announcement should provide a counterpoint to some of that gloom -- or at least remind investors that Intel's nothing like Cisco.
Intel's shares were up more than 2% in mid-morning trading.
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