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McDonald's Boosts Dividend

It plans to return much cash to shareholders.
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McDonald's (MCD) boosted its annual dividend by 50% to $1.50 a share.

The Oak Brook, Ill., burger joint said it expects to return a total of $15 billion to $17 billion to shareholders over the next three years, through dividends and share buybacks. The company said it has bought back $2.4 billion worth of stock this year.

"Today's dividend increase is a testament to our focus on being better, not just bigger," CEO Jim Skinner said in a press release. "We've improved our menu, marketing and restaurant experience and at the same time taken action to enhance the strength and reliability of our substantial cash flow. Our efforts have delivered exceptional business performance and created significant value for our owner/operators, suppliers and shareholders."

Shares rose 90 cents late Wednesday to $52.10, putting them within a dollar and change of their 52-week high.

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