Pfizer Rises As Analyst Expects Dividend Increase

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Pfizer Inc. rose Wednesday after a Credit Suisse analyst said the world's largest drugmaker is likely to raise its dividend up to 20 percent later this month, less than a year after slashing its payout.

Analyst Catherine Arnold said it's likely Pfizer will raise its dividend to 18.5 cents from 16 cents, the start of a series of dividend increases over the next few years.

She said the decision could come as soon as Monday.

In morning trading, Pfizer shares picked up 39 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $18.15.

In January, the New York company halved its quarterly dividend to 16 cents as it needed to pay for its $68 billion purchase of rival Wyeth.

Arnold said a dividend increase to about 18.5 cents or 19.25 cents ¿ 74 to 77 cents for the full year ¿ would please most investors. She added that Wall Street expectations for Pfizer's drug pipeline are very low even though it will report late-stage clinical trial results for three drugs in 2010, with others due the following year. She said those could boost its stock.

Pfizer will report trial data for its Prevnar 13 children's vaccine, its chronic pain drug tanezumab, and Alzheimer's disease drug Dimebon next year, she said.

Pfizer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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