Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is trying to take away some of the thunder from General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), now that GM is losing its “Government Motors” nickname. The more stable auto company (Ford) is doubling its common dividend for shareholders.
We expected a dividend hike, but doubling the payout is way above and beyond what we would have predicted. This is the highest payout since back in 2006 before the recession. Ford shareholders will now receive a payout of $0.10 per quarter rather than $0.05 per quarter. The company was quoted as saying, “Ford’s plan is to grow its dividend, consistent with earnings and liquidity growth, to a level that is sustainable through all business cycles.”
Based on the $13.47 close, Ford will now yield 2.97% rather than just under 1.5% for its holders.
Ford went on to say that it increased its liquidity position through the first three-quarters of 2012 by some $2 billion. It also now has generated 10 consecutive quarters of positive automotive operating-related cash flow.
Ford shares are winning from this move, as the stock is up 3% in premarket trade at $13.89. Be advised that if this price holds, it will mark a new 52-week high, as the 52-week trading range is $8.82 to $13.70.
If you are unsure whether the phrase “a rising tide lifts all ships,” then look at GM. Its shares are also up by 0.6%. After it gets the government out of its back office, maybe shareholders can hope for a dividend from it as well. They just might have to wait longer.
Jon C. Ogg