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GM Keeps Dividend at 50 Cents

The quarterly payout had been debated after GM's debt downgrade.
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General Motors


declared its regular quarterly dividend of 50 cents Monday afternoon, laying to rest one concern of shareholders unnerved by last week's debt downgrade.

The 50-cent payout will be distributed June 10 to stockholders of record May 19.

General Motors, along with



, saw its debt rating cut last week to junk status by Standard & Poor's, which expressed doubts about the automakers' efforts to meet their competitive challenges.

The downgrade, coming on the heels of profit warnings at both companies,

sparked a debate Friday about whether GM would be able to support its $2 annual dividend, which comes out to about $1.1 billion a year.

Most analysts conceded the company has enough cash and borrowing power to fund the dividend. GM listed nearly $30 billion of cash as available for the payout at the end of 2004.

Earlier Monday, investor Kirk Kerkorian said he was proceeding with his tender offer for 28 million GM shares at $31 apiece. The stock closed up 57 cents, or 1.9%, to $31.33 Monday.