FEDERAL WAY, Wash. ( TheStreet) -- Weyerhaeuser ( WY), the homebuilder-turned- real estate investment trust, said early Monday it intends to reward shareholders with an increased dividend.

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>>10 Top Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts

Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser said it will pay a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share, with the first dividend payment expected to occur in March, for a yield of about 3.4%. The board will determine and declare the actual dividend on a quarterly basis.

Weyerhaeuser shares added 1.2% Monday morning to trade around $17.98.

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"This action establishes a dividend that is attractive to shareholders -- one that is sustainable and that we expect to grow over time," said CEO Dan Fulton.

"We do not anticipate significant improvement in the housing market in 2011," Fulton said. "While there is significant near term uncertainty, the longer-term outlook remains positive as we expect improved macroeconomic conditions and housing starts to return to trend levels."

Weyerhaeuser said it is targeting a dividend payout ratio of 75% of funds from operations.

It also reiterated that it intends to make the REIT election upon filing its 2010 tax return, making the effective date Jan. 1, 2010.

>>Weyerhaeuser Falls on Broker Action

Analysts from UBS recently downgraded Weyerhaeuser shares from buy to neutral, citing the firm's valuation as a reason for the action.

Following Weyerhaeuser's better-than-expected quarterly financial results, released in late October, analysts from Barclays Capital reiterated an overweight rating and raised their price target on the stock to $29.

RBC Capital Markets also reiterated an outperform rating, and raised their price target to $23, following the earnings report. Research firm Dahlman Rose initiated coverage of Weyerhaeuser earlier in October with a buy rating and $20 price target.

Weyerhaeuser shares were popular last week after Jim Cramer, in his "Mad Money" TV show, tapped the firm as one of his top momentum stocks -- part of his "momentum" portfolio of five stocks that fit his momentum detection methodology.

"There's a pattern that's been puzzling investors for ages," Cramer told viewers, and that pattern is a stock that runs up ahead of its earnings release only to sell off on what was reported as "better-than-expected" results. Cramer said it's hard to discern genuine earnings beats from a fake ones, but he's come up with a formula.

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Cramer said he analyzed all of the stocks in the S&P 500 this quarter, looking for stocks that both ran up ahead of their quarterly results, and then kept on going higher after the results were posted. Cramer said for this exercise, he looked at stock prices five days prior to earnings, immediately after earnings and then again five days after earnings.

There were 163 companies on the list whose stock ran up at least 2% ahead of the quarter, said Cramer, but only 21 whose post-earnings results were as good or better as in the five days prior to results. The 21 companies were spread out amongst six sectors, from technology and healthcare to minerals and energy.

Since the best predictor of future winners are past winners, Cramer said he's put together a portfolio of five stocks that he feels will repeat this strong pattern of heading higher when they next report their earnings.

Of the three materials stocks that made the cut, Cramer chose Weyerhaeuser, a stock which he owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS.

Cramer said Weyerhaeuser is a play on a recovery in housing and the fact that the company is converting itself into a REIT.

Rounding out the list was Jabil Circuit ( JBL), Noble Energy ( NBL), Goodrich ( GR) and Wellpoint ( WLP).

For the recent quarter, Weyeraeuser beat top- and bottom-line expectations with net quarterly earnings of $1.12 billion, or $3.50 per share, compared with break-even results in the year-earlier period. Net revenue jumped 17.7% to $1.66 billion.

Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings were 25 cents per share, better than the 10 cents per share analysts expected. Analysts typically exclude one-time items when forecasting earnings estimates.

Stronger-than-expected results were attributed to increased demand in cellulose, a key material in papers and fibers.

Weyerhaeuser said single-family home sales ticked up sequentially in the third quarter but it expects to book lower profits from its real estate business in the current quarter as the market for new-homes remains weak.

"The overall housing market remains in an uncertain state," said CEO Dan Fulton. "We continue to defer (timber) harvest due to lower log demand."

Weyerhaeuser considers itself a forest products company and is converting into a real estate investment trust in an effort to cut its corporate tax liability. It grows and harvests timber on 22 million acres of forests, manufactures forest products, develops real estate and constructs homes.

In October, Weyerhaeuser declared a $5.6 billion special dividend as part of its REIT conversion, 90% of which was stock, more than doubling its share count to 538 million.

Weyerhaeuser is a forest products company which mainly grows and harvests trees, builds homes and makes a range of forest products essential to everyday lives.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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