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CVS Caremark: Restructuring Debt, Mulling Dividend Increase

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As headlines moan and groan about the controversial "fiscal cliff" publicly traded companies are buying back old debt and borrowing money at very low interest rates.

Before I discuss one of them, let me share with you a controversial article titled "Why the Fiscal Cliff Will Happen...for About a Week" written by my friend and respected investment analyst Alexander Green.

The reason I bring this article to your attention is summarized in the following quote: "Progress on this front (tax and budget reform) -- which we are likely to see next year -- will be good for the dollar, good for the stock market, and good for the future of the United States. Govern your portfolio accordingly."

That's why investors will want to consider CVS CVS Caremark (CVS - Get Report) before the stock market begins its "Santa Claus Rally."

As I mentioned elsewhere, the abundance of very low interest rate credit is helping to fuel some "stock surprises" and some end-of-year acquisitions.

This may fuel a seasonal rally along with good news that may be coming out of Washington and the Federal Reserve's meeting this week. The Fed's Open Market Committee's quarterly meeting results and a special press conference by Fed Chairman Bernanke happens Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. EST.

CVS is currently Jim Cramer's favorite name among the pharmacy health.care services companies. It's increasing its quarterly revenue (most recent quarter up 13.3%) and quarterly earnings (up 16% year-over-year). CVS does have an enormous amount of total debt -- over $10 bill (MRQ).

Yet, in the current financial environment with interest rates near zero, CVS can restructure that debt so it is "lighter" and more manageable. That's exactly what management is doing. In a press release Monday, CVS announced the early results of a tender offer that in essence replaces higher interest rate debt with lower rates. It's a "refinance" of sorts.

The press release states, "In addition, CVS Caremark has amended the terms of the tender offers to increase the Maximum Tender Offer Amount such that the maximum aggregate principal amount of the maximum tender offer notes tendered and accepted for purchase will be equal to $1,325,000,000 less the aggregate principal amount of the any and all notes tendered and accepted for purchase.
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