Dividend Hikes: Caterpillar - TheStreet

Dividend Hikes: Caterpillar

Caterpillar raises its quarterly cash dividend to 44 cents per share from 42 cents.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

became the latest in a string of companies to increase its quarterly dividend payment, sending shares higher during Wednesday's session.

Caterpillar

said it will raise the quarterly cash dividend to 44 cents per share from 42 cents, an increase of 5%. The dividend is payable August 20 to stockholders of record at the close of business on July 20. The increase pushes the annualized dividend yield on Caterpillar's shares to 3% from 2.88%.

"Now we are pleased to reward stockholders with dividend growth, which underscores Caterpillar's global reach and the strength of our business model," said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Owens in a statement.

Caterpillar shares were up $1.77, or 3.1%, to $58.38 following the announcement.

Elsewhere,

VSE Corp.

(VSEC) - Get Report

upped its quarterly cash dividend to 6 cents per share from 5 cents, an increase of 20%. The dividend will be paid on August 11 to stockholders of record as of July 28. Shares of VSE Corp. were lately up 1.3% to $35.56.

In other dividend news,

Viacom

(VIA.B)

said its board of directors has approved a regular quarterly cash dividend of 15 cents per Class A and Class B common share. The first dividend payment will be payable on July 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 21.

Viacom also said it will resume its stock purchase program, which was suspended in early 2009 due to unfavorable economic conditions. The company said it has increased the funds available to purchase Class B common stock to $4 billion.

Shares of Viacom's Class B stock were up 2.8% to $33.46.

Meanwhile,

Cantel Medical

(CMN)

said its board of directors has authorized a regular semiannual dividend of 5 cents per share. The dividend is payable on July 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 15. Shares of Cantel Medical slipped 0.7% to $16.69.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

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