Coca-Cola Co. (KO) shares were up more than 1% Thursday after the beverage giant surprised no one by raising its quarterly dividend for the 57th consecutive year.
The company raised its dividend by 2.6% to 40 cents, or $1.60 on an annualized basis, from 39 cents. The new rate is payable April 1, to shareholders of record on March 15. The yield for the new dividend is 3.6% based on the company's opening price of $45.
Last year, the company returned $6.6 billion to shareholders through dividend payments. Since January 1, 2010, the company has paid out $48.1 billion in dividends.
Additionally, the soda giant announced that its board has authorized a new share repurchase program for 150 million additional shares. This is on top of the 500 million share plan that was announced in October 2012.