Ingersoll-Rand Cuts Dividend Payout by 60%

Shares of Ingersoll-Rand ( IR) are down over 3% in early trading after the company's board of directors authorized a reduction in the quarterly common stock dividend to 7 cents per share from 18 cents effective with the September 2009 dividend payment.

Management said the reduced payment will enhance liquidity as well as its ability to pay down debt in the short term and make investments for future growth.

We had removed shares of Ingersoll-Rand from our "Recommended" list back on Aug. 6 when the stock traded at $36.69. The company has a 4.62% dividend yield based on last night's closing stock price of $15.59.

The company does have technical support in the $11 to $12 price area. If the shares can rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $17 to $18 levels. We would remain on the sidelines.

Ingersoll-Rand is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.8 out of 5 stars.

KLA Tencor Cuts Another 10% of Workforce

Shares of KLA Tencor ( KLAC) are up slightly in early trading after the company announced it will reduce its global workforce by approximately 10%, following a 10% cut of employees back in November.

The semiconductor equipment-maker said it needs to further reduce its operating expenses to respond to the current demand environment. The company plans additional forced time off and a reduction in employee stock-purchase plan benefits.

The company recently reported a second-quarter loss of $434.3 million or $2.57 per share, down from a profit of $83.9 million or 45 cents per share in the same period a year earlier.

We have avoided the shares of KLA since we started our early June coverage and the stock was trading at $42.83. The company has a 2.99% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $20.09.

The stock has technical support in the $13 to $14 price range. If those levels fail to hold, the $10 level could possibly come into play. If the shares can firm up, we see the first level of overhead resistance in the $24 to $26 area. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

KLA is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Moody's Lowers Hartford Financial Services Credit Ratings

Shares of Hartford Financial Services ( HIG) are down slightly in early trading after Briefing.com reported that Moody's Investors Service lowered the credit ratings of the company.

Hartford's long-term senior debt rating was downgraded to Baa3 from Baa1 and the short-term debt rating to P-3 from P-2. Earlier this month, the insurer announced it was in talks to sell its life insurance subsidiary to Sun Life Financial ( SLF) of Canada.

We have avoided shares of Hartford since our early June coverage began and the stock was trading at $71 a share. The stock is trading near all-time historic lows. If the shares can manage to rebound, we see overhead resistance around the $8 to $10 level. We would look elsewhere for better investment opportunities at this time.

Hartford is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Deutsche Bank Tells Investors to Sell Freeport McMoran Shares

Shares of Freeport McMoRan ( FCX) are up slightly in the premarket, despite a Deutsche Bank ( DB) analyst cutting his rating on the stock to a sell.

The analyst is concerned about the stock's run-up and believes copper prices are headed lower.

Shares of Freeport McMoRan have had a good run since it cut its dividend in early December, rising from the $18 mark to over $42 recently. Copper prices have been in a steady uptrend since then as well, going from $1.40 to $1.80 just recently.

The call seems more or less a simple profit-taking one, but investors should look at the $31 to $33 levels for an initial area of support if the shares do indeed pull back. If the shares do firm up, we see the $45 to $53 levels as the next areas of overhead resistance.

Freeport McMoRan does not currently pay a dividend.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.
At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.