Altria Group Inc.
said Thursday it will raise its quarterly dividend by 5%, to 84 cents a share from 80 cents. The cigarette and smokeless tobacco products seller said the new dividend will be payable Oct. 10 to shareholders of record on Sept. 16. The stock was up 0.2% in afternoon trading. Based on current stock prices, the new annual dividend rate would imply a dividend yield of 7.25%, compared with yield on the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF
of 2.64% and the implied yield on the S&P 500
of 2.00%. Altria’s current dividend yield is 6.89%. Altria said it has now reached the 50-year dividend increase milestone, as the latest increase marks the 54th time it has raised its dividend over the past half century. The stock has lost 22% over the past year, while the consumer staples ETF has has climbed 11.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 2.2%.
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