NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Pfizer ( PFE) said Monday its board approved an 11.1% increase of its quarterly cash dividend to 20 cents a share from 18 cents. Pfizer said the dividend is payable on March 1, 2011 to shareholders of record on Feb. 4.
>>10 Top Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts The increased dividend will bring Pfizer's annualized yield to around 4.7% based on current share prices. The stock rose 1% to $17.19 in regular trades on Monday. It ticked higher in after-hours action, adding 4 cents to $17.23 on volume of 1.12 million, according to Nasdaq.com. Year-to-date, shares of the Dow component are down 6.4% vs. a gain of 9.6% for the blue-chip index. Dividend activity has picked up in recent months as companies begin to regain some sense of stability in the state of the economy, and visibility of future earnings growth. The iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend ( DVY), an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index, is up 13.3% so far in 2010, and up 12.3% year-over-year. The iShares Dow Jones International Select Dividend Index Fund ( IDV) ETF is up 7% year-to-date, and up 6.1% from a year ago. "This dividend increase is a testament to our commitment to enhance shareholder value and reflects continued confidence in our business," said Pfizer CEO Ian Read in a press release. "While the dividend level remains a decision of the board and will continue to be evaluated in the context of future business performance, barring significant unforeseen events, we continue to target a dividend payout ratio comparable to the current industry average of approximately 40% in about three years." Pfizer's first-quarter cash dividend will mark the company's 289th consecutive quarterly payout.