Thursday, December 2, 2010

Walt Disney Ups Dividend

Last night Disney (DIS) announced a $.05 increase in it's dividend to $.40 a year. While not a huge increase or a huge dividend in total, it nevertheless underscores the advantage of investing in financially strong companies.

DIS now has a Net Payout Yield of nearly 6.25%. The company really upped their stock repurchases in Q2 and then again in a major way during Q3. The company bought back $2.7B shares during the Q when the stock traded in the lower $30s. With the stock today over $37 those purchases are looking very good. Using the $3.7B in buyouts over the last 6 months on a annual basis the yield jumps to a much more impressive amount of over 11%.

Upping the dividend was a good deal, but it would've been nice to increases it to something much higher if they have the money for such huge buybacks, With the dividend only slightly above 1% after this raise, dividend investors won't be sucked into this stock. Ideally we'd see a much more balanced approach to their capital distributions.

DIS remains a core holding in our Net Payout Yield portfolio and in the model at Covestor.com. Unfortunately that model has been lagging the market since implementation in early November. Dividend stocks appear to be lagging over the last month with the Bush tax cuts in limbo. Without an extension of the tax cuts some investors may be pairing back such holdings to avoid higher capital gains and dividend taxes in 2011.

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