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IBM Announces Dividend, Stock Buyback

IBM's board has announced a 55 cent-per-share quarterly dividend and authorized a $5 billion stock repurchase program.

(Updates with closing stock price)

Armonk, N.Y. (

TheStreet

--

IBM's

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

board has announced a 55-cent-per-share quarterly dividend and authorized a $5 billion stock repurchase program.

The tech bellwether said that the buyback is in addition to roughly $4.2 million left over from an earlier repurchase. With roughly $9.2 million now available for share buyback, the company also expects to request additional stock repurchase at its April 2010 board meeting.

IBM, which has been shifting its focus onto high-margin areas such as

services

and

software

, will pay its quarterly dividend on Dec. 10.

Despite

falling sales

compared to last year, the tech bellwether recently posted strong

TheStreet Recommends

third-quarter results

, and has

paid (subscription required)

consecutive quarterly dividends every year since 1916.

In a statement released Tuesday, IBM CEO

Sam Palmisano

said that IBM has returned $73 billion to its shareholders since 2003, thanks to profitable growth and strong cash flow performance.

IBM is not the only company updating its dividend story. Earlier this month, for example, chipmaker

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report

raised

its quarterly cash dividend.

Shares of IBM, which competes with

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get HP Inc. Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

and

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

, ended the trading day up 54 cents, or 0.5%, at $120.65, despite a retreat in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq slip 1.2%.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York