Investing

6 Big Companies That Just Now Raised Their Dividends, Some Very Unexpectedly

Las Vegas Sands

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) may have shown that Macau was still a drag on earnings, but the casino-hotel operator managed to beat its earnings expectations after cost measurement in Macau and in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Sheldon Adelson’s casino giant announced that its board of directors approved an increase of almost 11% in the company’s recurring common stock dividend for 2016 to $2.88 per Share. This is a $0.72 per quarter payout versus $0.65 currently, which will lift that dividend yield to 6.1% for 2016 from the 5.55% yield in 2015 based on the current share price of $46.84. For whatever it is worth, this new higher payout is now currently higher than the consensus EPS estimates for 2015 and 2016.

ONEOK

ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE) announced an increase to ONEOK’s quarterly dividend by 1 cent per share, a 2% hike, to $0.615 per share for the third quarter 2015. This new annualized payout of $2.46 per share generates a yield of almost 6.6%. The general partner of ONEOK Partners said that it is committed to delivering long-term value as it did with a recent $650 million equity investment in the partnership that is expected to result in increased distributions to ONEOK.

ONEOK said that since becoming the pure-play general partner of ONEOK Partners in February 2014, it has increased its dividend five times for a total of a 54% increase during that period.

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Seagate

Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) may have recently disappointed investors with its guidance, and a rival merger might put pressure as well, but the storage giant reported on Wednesday that its board of directors has approved a 17% increase in the targeted regular cash dividend. With an earnings warning, most companies might be more reluctant to hike their payout.

Seagate’s targeted annual dividend will rise to $2.52 from $2.16 per share. Its new quarterly rate of $0.63 per share will be paid on November 20, 2015. Seagate shares were down 3.6% at $37.13 on Wednesday, versus a 52-week range of $36.80 (from Wednesday) to $69.40. Its consensus analyst price target is closer to $46.75, but this was just a $49.00 stock just a week earlier.

Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) issued a statement for its 2016 annual meeting, and decided to throw in a dividend hike announcement along with that. Some companies do not seem to know how show emphasis, but they usually learn through time. The big announcement was that its board of directors had declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.14 per share, higher than the $0.12 per share dividend before.

This was for all classes of its common stock payable on December 1 to holders of record as of November 13. What matters here is that Visa, a Dow Jones Industrial Average component, had a paltry yield of only about 0.64%. This moves the dividend up to a yield of 0.75%.

While still an embarrassing yield for a Dow stock, it continues to be a move in the right direction. Visa still pays out only about 20% of its operating earnings per share if you use a 2015 and 2016 blended EPS target.

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