The market is down again in early trading this morning. One bright spot is Wal-Mart (WMT). The retail giant announced that it’s hiking its quarterly dividend by 15% to 27.25 cents a share.
This is very good news and it’s interesting because I recently discussed the importance of dividends. In particular, I singled out Wal-Mart for its long-term track record of yearly dividend increases. The company has now raised its dividend every year for the last 35 years.
Wal-Mart also reported a 5.1% jump in February same-store sales. That doubled Wall Street’s forecast. Obviously, shoppers are willing to buy but only if they can find good bargains. I think stock investors feel the same way. Nearly the entire rest of the retail sector continues to struggle, especially at the high end.
I rate Wal-Mart a very strong buy.