Coca-Cola (KO) has history that dates back to 1886. It also has a long record of returning cash to shareholders. It has paid dividends each year since 1920, about a year after it began listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
On Thursday, Coca-Cola's board approved lifting its quarterly shareholder payout by 7% to 47 cents a share. The beverage giant cited confidence in its long-term cash flow. This dividend is payable April 1 to shareholders of record as of March 15.
From an annual standpoint, Coca-Cola pays $1.88 a share for a current yield of about 3%. That's the biggest yield among the dividend paying stocks in IBD's Beverages-Non Alcoholic group. The company has raised its dividend for 49 consecutive years.
Coca-Cola is a member of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index, which is made up of blue-chip companies that have paid increasing dividends each year for at least 25 years. Coca-Cola is also one of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's biggest holdings in his Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA). As of Dec. 31, Berkshire Hathaway owned 200 million shares.
Meanwhile, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) popped Thursday after posting better-than-expected quarterly results. Thanks to increased demand for Dr Pepper, 7-Up and Sunkist beverages, the company reported Q4 earnings of 67 cents a share, up 52% and 3 cents above views. Sales grew 4% to $1.41 billion, also above views. Both top- and bottom-line growth was the best in years.
Looking ahead, Dr Pepper Snapple expects full-year 2011 profit of $2.70 to $2.80 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $2.72 a share.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group came about in 2008 after it was spun off from Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages.
The company declared its first-ever quarterly dividend, of 15 cents a share, in November 2009. It most recently raised the payout by 67% to 25 cents a share in May.
Earlier this month, the company declared a quarterly dividend of a quarter a share. The annual $1-per- share rate works out to a yield of about 3%.
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