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Qwest in the Giving Spirit

Investors cheer as the big telco revives its dividend after six years.



is getting in the spirit, announcing its first shareholder dividend in six years.

The Denver phone giant says it will pay an 8 cent quarterly dividend in February, fulfilling a promise to start returning cash to investors. The company had neglected shareholders during the telecom collapse and the ensuing accounting scandal.

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To the frustration of many investors, new CEO Ed Mueller remained mum on the topic of dividends during the company's earnings conference call in October.

"This action reflects the ongoing strong performance of the company, the outstanding efforts of its employees and the confidence customers have in Qwest products and services," Mueller said in a press release.

Qwest says it will host a conference call with investors on Monday to discuss the conclusions of its recent strategic review and provide financial guidance.

Qwest shares jumped 53 cents, or 8%, to $7.49 in after-hours trading Thusday.