NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/30/12 -- Dividend paying stocks have lagged the markets this year as U.S. economic data coupled with speculation European leaders will contain the region's debt crisis have pushed investors to riskier companies, Bloomberg reports. Despite the modest lag in the first three months of the year, S&P analysts argue that dividend payments are on the upswing as companies begin to show improving balance sheets. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for high yielding dividend paying companies and provides equity research on Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) & ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
Howard Silverblatt, S&P's senior index analyst, recently wrote a research note explaining that the Standard & Poor's 500 Index companies have never paid more dividends than now. Silverblatt said announced payouts imply an annual dividend rate of $29.02 per index share -- a 35 percent uptick since August 2009.
S&P data shows that S&P 500 companies are paying out 30 percent of profits, less than the average of 52 percent. The current S&P 500 dividend yield is approximately 1.96 percent.
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ConAgra Foods, Inc. operates as a food company primarily in North America. It operates in two segments, Consumer Foods and Commercial Foods. It presently pays an annual dividend of 96 cents a share for a yield of around 3.7 percent. In the fiscal third quarter ended on February 26, ConAgra's net income rose to $271.6 million, or 65 cents per share, from $214.8 million or 50 cents per share a year earlier.
Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. The company presently pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share for a heft yield of around 5.3 percent.
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