Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MSFTextrememakeover: Still searching for a dividend strategy

MSFT announced a dividend increase.  Not quite keeping up with currency conversion, or inflation. 

The actual announcement? Another .01/Quarter increase - just like last time. That brings us to .44 annually, or 1.51% yield at the current closing price. But due to the now higher share value, that's actually a lower yield than when MSFT announced the last dividend increase (1.51% vs the then 1.54%). It's also a smaller % increase on its own. Clearly, management isn't telegraphing much confidence in the future stock price despite its depressed YTD performance.

By way of comparison, INTC's current yield is 1.77% and IBM's is 1.6%. The S&P 500 average is 1.71% (2.2% if you count just dividend-payers) and the DOW 30 average is around 2.3%. In other words, even with this increase, MSFT's dividend lags behind the S&P 500 average, the DOW 30 average, and behind some of its equivalent tech peers - as it has since inception. But the "bonus" is that you get worse-than-market stock performance too! For example, down over 2% YTD while the NAS is up more than 7%, for a total 9% relative underperformance (7%, if you want to compare to the S&P).

Source: MSFTextrememakeover: Still searching for a dividend strategy

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