Shares of Microsoft Corp.
rallied 1.2% in morning trading Wednesday, and peeked into record territory earlier in the session, after the software behemoth raised its dividend by 11% and announced a new $60 billion stock repurchase program. The company said late Tuesday that it raised its quarterly dividend to 62 cents a share from 56 cents, with the new dividend payable Dec. 9 to shareholders of record on Nov. 18. Based on current stock prices, the new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 0.82%, compared with the yield for the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF
of 0.69% and the implied yield for the S&P 500
of 1.35%. And the new $60 billion stock repurchase program, which has now expiration date, represents about 2.6% of Microsoft’s market capitalization of $2.28 trillion. Microsoft’s stock was up as much as 1.8% at an intraday high $305.32, which was above the Aug. 23 record close of $304.65. It has run up 36.4% year to date, while the technology ETF has advanced 20.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has gained 13.3%.