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Dividend Hikes: Tiffany

Stocks in this article: TIF

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tiffany (TIF) was one of several companies to increase its dividend Thursday, although shares still traded lower alongside the broader market indices.

Tiffany said it has increased its quarterly dividend by 25% to 25 cents per share, or $1 per share annually. It was the company's second dividend increase in 2010, following the decision in January to raise the dividend to 20 cents from 17 cents per share. The hike increases Tiffany's dividend yield to 2.35% from 1.88%.

"Following an 18% increase in the quarterly dividend rate earlier this year, this action again demonstrates the board's recognition of our strong balance sheet liquidity and their confidence in Tiffany's long-term earnings growth potential," Chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski said at Tiffany's annual meeting of shareholders.

Still, Tiffany shares were down 2% to $42.58 following the announcement.

Several other companies announced dividend increases. Ship Finance International (SFL) raised its quarterly dividend to 33 cents per share from 30 cents per share.

However, shares dropped 7.4% to $16.78 as Ship Finance said it had first-quarter net income of $57 million, or 72 cents a share. Results include a $26 million gain related to the newbuilding Suezmax tanker Everbright and a negative impact of $12.8 million due the mark to market of derivatives relating to interest rate swaps.

Unum Group (UNM) said it has increased its quarterly dividend to 9.25 cents per share from 8 cents. Unum Group also said its board of directors has approved a total of up to $500 million to repurchase the company's outstanding common stock over the next 12 months. Still, shares were down 2.7% to $21.46.

Ashland (ASH) said it has doubled its quarterly dividend to 15 cents per share, citing "excellent progress during the past 18 months in integrating the Hercules acquisition, paying down our debt, creating operating leverage and executing on our business strategies." Still, shares of Ashland were down 5.4% to $51.34.

Clorox (CLX) said late Wednesday that it has upped its quarterly dividend by 10% to 55 cents per share. Clorox shares were down 0.5% to $63.57 following the announcement.

>>Find Ex-Dividend Dates With Our Dividend Calendar

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