NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Pfizer  (PFE - Get Report) are up 0.31% to $32.36 in after-hours trading on Tuesday after closing intraday trading higher on heavy volume after the company increased its quarterly dividend after the closing bell yesterday.

The company declared a first quarter dividend of 30 cents per share, a 7% increase from the 28 cents per share the company previously declared, payable March 2 to shareholders of record on February 5.

"The dividend increase is a testament to our continued commitment to enhancing shareholder value and our confidence in the business," said CEO Ian Read.

"As always, we are focused on maximizing total shareholder return, of which the dividend remains a key component," Read said.

The stock traded on heavy volume today with shares changing hands 47 million times, versus the stock's average of 35.2 million shares per day.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate PFIZER INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.58, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.08, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $5,024.00 million or 12.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -0.45%.
  • The gross profit margin for PFIZER INC is currently very high, coming in at 84.60%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, PFE's net profit margin of 17.61% significantly trails the industry average.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that PFE's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PFE