One billion: that's how many prescriptions pharmacy giant CVS Caremark (CVS - Get Report) fills each year. There's safety in those numbers, at least for CVS shareholders. The firm has consistently outperformed its pure-play retail pharmacy peers, delivering enviable net profit margins and paying out a decent dividend throughout the financial roller coaster of 2007 and 2008. But CVS' income statement has grown faster than its dividend payout has -- and I think that the firm is ready to hike its 16.25-cent quarterly dividend.
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