By the Numbers

Sign of Health: Biggest Dividend Increases

Microsoft Sign
Robert Scoble

Microsoft announced Tuesday it is boosting its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share, a 25 percent increase from the previous quarter. Will investors welcome the news as a sign of confidence?

About 65 companies in the S&P 500 increased dividend payouts by more than 1 percent so far this year, but only half have seen their shares increase in price by more than 2 percent.

During uncertain economic times, cash-rich companies with a history of rewarding investors tend to be in demand. Underlying models and business prospects, however, could shadow attractive dividend yields.

Here is a look at twenty S&P 500 stocks with some of the biggest percent increases in dividend yields in 2011. As a point of reference, the table below includes stock prices year-to-date along with cash and short-term investments as a percent of total assets.

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