PepsiCo Guides Higher

Updated from 8:05 a.m. EST

PepsiCo ( PEP) Tuesday raised earnings guidance and said it was increasing its annual stock dividend and share buyback program.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company said it expected to earn about 46 cents a share in the first quarter with 10% revenue growth. Because of that, the company now expects full-year earnings to be at the high end of the $2.27 to $2.29 a share range first outlined in February.

Analysts expect PepsiCo to earn 44 cents a share and $2.29 a share in the respective periods, according to Thomson One Analytics.

The food and drink maker also said its annual dividend payout will increase 44%, from 64 cents to 92 cents a share. The new plan will be implemented with the next dividend that will be declared and be payable in June 2004.

The company also plans to repurchase up to $7 billion of common stock over the next three years, once its current $5 billion repurchase program is completed in the near future.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, the company earned $897 million, or 51 cents a share, missing analysts expectations by a penny, compared with $689 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago.

PepsiCo shares rose $1.35, or 2.6%, to $53.56, a new 52-week high.

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