Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Laura Franks Dividend Note No. 25, June 2, 2010 for Bexley Public Radio.

This is a report on thirty-four companies that have increased dividends during the second half of May. It is an occasional note by Laura Franks.

This informal collection marks dividend increases for mostly U.S. stocks. This report includes some equities based outside the United States that do business in the United States.

Laura’s commentary and analysis is sometimes offered in this informal journal. The companies that Laura notes in this report as interesting businesses are Bunge Limited,an agribusiness company founded in 1818 and Cognex, a manufacturer of machine vision sensors.

Once each quarter, you can listen to Laura Franks Bexley Consumer Price Index ("Laura Franks Bexley CPI"). Laura shops a uniform basket of goods in Bexley and near-Bexley retail shops. Laura then computes the price changes, up and down, of the items in the market basket. She has been reporting the Bexley Consumer Price Index since the first quarter 2008.

Laura Franks. Only on Bexley Public Radio, WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

BPRF Dividend Note No. 25, June 2, 2010.

ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE) May 19, 2010, Zurich, Switzerland, announced that its shareholders have approved all matters submitted to the ACE Limited 2010 Annual General Meeting, held at the company's offices in Zurich, Switzerland, including a 6.5% increase to the company's quarterly dividend to $1.32 annually ($0.33 per quarter) from $1.24.
The dividend distribution will be in the form of a par value reduction payable in four installments. The amount of each installment in Swiss francs (CHF) will be adjusted up or down to equal $0.33 near the time of payment, subject to an aggregate cap for the four installments of CHF 2.16, similar to the par value reduction installments approved by ACE shareholders in 2009.

In addition, the Board of Directors declared that shareholders of record at the close of business on July 27, 2010, will be entitled to payment of the first of such installments, subject to a required filing with the Swiss Commercial Register. Dividend payments will be made in U.S. dollars (USD) on August 17, 2010, by the company's transfer agent. The company's par value is currently CHF 31.55 per share, and in connection with the dividend installment, the par value per share will be reduced by the CHF equivalent of $0.33 based on the USD/CHF rate published on July 22, 2010.
Celebrating 25 years of insuring progress, the ACE Group is a global insurer and reinsurer serving a diverse group of clients. Headed by ACE Limited, the ACE Group conducts its business on a worldwide basis with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries.

Analog Devices Inc. (NYSE: ADI)
May 18, 2010, Norwood, MA declared a ten percent Dividend increase. The dividend will be paid on June 16 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 28. Analog Devices has paid dividends since 2003 and has a current dividend yield of 3.1%. Analog Devices current dividend information is: Dividend Declaration Date: May-18-2010
Dividend Ex Date: May-26-2010 
Dividend Record Date: May-28-2010
Dividend Payment Date: Jun-16-2010 
Dividend Amount: 0.22

Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) May 20, 2010, White Plains, NY announced that its board of directors has approved a 9.5% increase in the company's regular quarterly cash dividend, from $0.21 to $0.23 per common share. The new dividend is payable on September 2, 2010, to shareholders of record on August 19, 2010.

Bunge Limited is a global agribusiness and food company with approximately 37,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Bunge buys, sells, stores and transports oilseeds and grains to serve customers worldwide; processes oilseeds to make protein meal for animal feed and edible oil products for commercial customers and consumers; produces sugar and ethanol from sugarcane; mills wheat and corn to make ingredients used by food companies; and sells fertilizer in North and South America. Founded in 1818, the company is headquartered in White Plains, New York.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (NYSE: CP) May 20, 2010 Calgary, British Columbia, Canadasaid that its board increased its quarterly dividend to 27 cents from 24.75 cents.

The dividend is payable on July 26 to shareholders on June 25.

The railroad's board also approved a $70 million increase in capital spending this year. Canadian Pacific now plans to spend in the range of $750 million to $800 million on capital programs in 2010.

"The improving economy, our strong balance sheet and solid earnings and free cash flows have enabled us to expand our capital programs to take advantage of growth and productivity opportunities" said Kathryn McQuade, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "CP's strong franchise showed resilience through the recession and this dividend increase continues our trend of dividend growth aligned with earnings growth."

Canadian Pacific, through the ingenuity of its employees located across Canada and in the United States, remains committed to being the safest, most fluid railway in North America. Its trains operate through the more than 1,100 communities.

The Cato Corporation (NYSE: CATO) May 27, 2010 Charlotte, NC approved a 12% increase in the Company's dividend to an annualized rate of $.74 per Class A Common and Class B Common share. The dividend is payable quarterly at the rate of $.185 per share with the first payable date of June 28, 2010 to shareholders of record on June 14, 2010. At the closing market price on May 26, 2010, the dividend represents an annualized yield of 3.1%.

"One of Cato's goals is to return a portion of profits to our shareholders through dividends and to increase that dividend as our earnings increase," stated John Cato, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Board approved this increase based on our strong performance in 2009. Cato's dividend yield remains one of the highest in the retail industry."

The Cato Corporation is a specialty retailer of value-priced women's fashion apparel and accessories operating two divisions, "Cato" and "It's Fashion". The company's Cato division offers exclusive merchandise with fashion and quality comparable to mall specialty stores at low prices every day. The It's Fashion division offers fashion with a focus on the latest trendy styles and nationally recognized urban brands for the entire family at low prices every day. As of May 1, 2010, the Company operated 1,272 stores in 31 states.

The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) May 19, 2010 Oakland, CA announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 55 cents per share on the company's common stock, payable Aug. 13, 2010, to stockholders of record on July 28, 2010. The amount represents an increase of 5 cents per share, or 10 percent, in the company's quarterly dividend.

Total annual dividends paid to Clorox shareholders have increased each year since 1977.

Clorox Company is a manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with 8,300 employees and fiscal year 2009 revenues of $5.5 billion. Clorox markets some of consumers' most trusted and recognized brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products; Green Works(R) natural cleaning and laundry products; Armor All(R) and STP(R) auto-care products; Fresh Step(R) and Scoop Away(R) cat litter; Kingsford(R) charcoal; Hidden Valley(R) and K C Masterpiece(R) dressings and sauces; Brita(R) water-filtration systems; Glad(R) bags, wraps and containers; and Burt's Bees(R) natural personal care products. The company's products are manufactured in more than two dozen countries and sold in more than 100 countries. Clorox is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where its employees work and live. Founded in 1980, The Clorox Company Foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $77 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges. In fiscal 2009 alone, the foundation awarded $3.6 million in cash grants, and Clorox made product donations valued at $7.8 million.

Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX) May 5, 2010, Natick, MA announced that the board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share; this represents an increase of $0.01 per share, or 20%, over the $0.05 per share dividend paid in the prior quarter. 

“The dividend increase announced demonstrates the confidence that the board of directors has in Cognex’s financial strength and in our ability to continue to generate profitable growth for the remainder of the year,” said Dr. Robert J. Shillman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cognex. “We decreased our dividend in Q2 of 2009 when times were tough, and we are happy to increase it in good times like these so that we can share our success in a tangible way with our shareholders.”

The dividend announced today is payable on June 18, 2010, to all shareholders of record at the close of business on June 4, 2010. Cognex declared its first dividend in the third quarter of 2003, and to date it has paid $96 million in dividends to its shareholders.

Cognex Corporation designs, develops, manufactures and markets machine vision sensors and systems, or devices that can "see." Cognex vision sensors and systems are used in factories around the world where they guide, inspect, gauge, identify and assure the quality of a wide range of items during the manufacturing process. Cognex is the world's leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped more than 500,000 machine vision systems, representing over $2.5 billion in cumulative revenue, since the company's founding in 1981. Headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts USA, Cognex has regional offices and distributors located throughout North America, Japan, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

DDi Corp. (NASDAQ:DDIC), May 13, 2010 Anaheim, CA a provider of time-critical, technologically advanced electronic interconnect design, engineering and manufacturing services, announced that its board of directors has approved the initiation of a cash dividend to its shareholders. The quarterly dividend of $0.06 per share will be paid on July 6, 2010, to shareholders of record on the close of business on June 21, 2010. While it is the board of directors' intention that a dividend in this amount will continue to be paid on a quarterly basis, future declaration of quarterly dividends are subject to board approval.

Mikel Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of DDi Corp., stated, “The announcement of our first ever common stock dividend reflects the progress we have made in building a strong company and underscores our confidence in our business prospects and our future cash flow generation capabilities. Over the last three years we have repurchased $16.3 million of our shares in the open market, purchased Coretec Inc., and invested over $22 million in capital to strengthen our capabilities. We remain committed to enhancing shareholder value and are especially pleased we are able to continue to support our business while returning cash to our shareholders.”

The Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) May 26, 2010, Moline, IL announced a dividend payment of $.30 a share on common stock, payable August 2, 2010, to stockholders of record on June 30, 2010. The new quarterly rate represents an increase of two cents per share over the previous level, or seven percent.

Deere & Company, founded in 1837 (collectively called John Deere), has grown from a one-man blacksmith shop into a corporation that today does business around the world and employs more than 50,000 people.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (NYSE: DPS) May 19, 2010, Plano, TX announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share on the company's common stock. This represents a 67% increase in the quarterly dividend rate and follows the company's attainment of its target capital structure.

The dividend is payable in U.S. dollars on July 9, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 21, 2010. The ex-dividend date is June 17.
 The dividend yield on the new payout it 2.6%.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. is a producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. The company has more than 50 brands. Its brands include 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 9 of its 12 "power brands" are No. 1 in their flavor categories. In addition to Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, its products include Sunkist soda, 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Crush, Mott's, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, Penafiel, Clamato, Schweppes, Venom Energy, Rose's and Mr & Mrs T mixers.

First Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: THFF) May 18, 2010 Terre Haute, IN declared a semi-annual dividend of 46 cents per share payable on July 1, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business June 15, 2010. Today's declaration increases the total dividend paid in 2010 to 91 cents per share, a 1.1% increase from 2009.
Donald E. Smith, Chairman, noted that the corporation's performance has made it possible to increase dividends to shareholders for 22 consecutive years.

"The ability to reward our shareholders with increased dividends is a testament to the Corporation's success at generating solid earnings during what is perhaps the most challenging economic environment in the past 50 years," Smith said, "As always, we remain committed to operating in a safe and sound manner that allows us to provide positive returns without taking excessive risk."

First Financial Corporation is the holding company for First Financial Bank N.A., with 54 banking centers in western Indiana and eastern Illinois; The Morris Plan Company of Terre Haute; and Forrest Sherer, Inc., a full service insurance agency.

The Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust (NYSE: GDV) May 20, 2010, Rye, NY announced the continuation of monthly cash distributions of $0.06 per share for July and August 2010. The Board of Trustees authorized an increase in the cash distribution from $0.06 per share to $0.07 per share for September 2010. The September distribution represents a 17% increase over the previous month's distribution.

The distribution of $0.06 per share for July 2010 will be payable on July 23, 2010 to common shareholders of record on July 16, 2010.

The distribution of $0.06 per share for August 2010 will be payable on August 24, 2010 to common shareholders of record on August 17, 2010.

The distribution of $0.07 per share for September 2010 will be payable on September 23, 2010 to common shareholders of record on September 16, 2010.

Each quarter, the Board of Trustees reviews the amount of any potential distribution and the income, capital gain, or capital available. The Board of Trustees will continue to monitor the Fund's distribution level, taking into consideration the Fund's net asset value and the financial market environment. If necessary, the Fund will pay an adjusting distribution in December which includes any additional income and net realized capital gains in excess of the monthly distributions for that year to satisfy the minimum distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. The Fund's distribution policy is subject to modification by the Board of Trustees at any time.

A portion of the distribution may be treated as long-term capital gain and qualified dividend income for individuals, each subject to the maximum federal income tax rate, which is currently 15% in taxable accounts for individuals. If the Fund does not generate earnings from dividends and interest received and net realized capital gains equal to or in excess of the aggregate distributions paid by the Fund in a given year, then the amount distributed in excess of the Fund's investment income and net realized capital gains would be deemed a non-taxable return of capital.

Long-term capital gains, qualified dividend income, ordinary income, and paid-in capital, if any, will be allocated on a pro-rata basis to all distributions to common shareholders for the year. Based on the accounting records of the Fund as of May 17, 2010, each of the distributions paid in 2010 would include approximately 23% from net investment income and 77% from paid-in capital. The estimated components of each distribution are provided to shareholders of record in a notice accompanying the distribution and are available on our website ( The final determination of the sources of all distributions in 2010 will be made after year end and can vary from the monthly estimates. All shareholders with taxable accounts will receive written notification regarding the components and tax treatment for all 2010 distributions in early 2011 via Form 1099-DIV.

It should be noted that the Fund's total assets include capital from preferred shares issued in prior years. Gabelli Funds, LLC (the "Investment Adviser") does not receive a management fee on the incremental assets attributable to the Fund's outstanding preferred shares unless the total return of the net asset value of the common shares during the year, including distributions and management fee subject to reduction, exceeds the stated dividend rate or corresponding swap rate of each particular series of preferred shares for the fiscal year.

The Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company with $1.7 billion in total net assets whose primary investment objective is to provide a high level of total return with an emphasis on dividends and income. The Investment Adviser is a subsidiary of GAMCO Investors, Inc. (GBL 40.38, -1.76, -4.18%) , which is a publicly traded NYSE listed company.

The H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) May 27, 2010, Pittsburgh, PA announced that its board of directors declared quarterly dividends on both common and preferred stock.

The common stock dividend will be raised from 42.0 cents to 45.0 cents quarterly for all shareholders of record as of June 24, 2010, payable July 10, 2010. The new annualized dividend is $1.80, which represents an increase of $0.12, or 7.1%, versus last year’s dividend. Including today’s announcement, Heinz has increased the dividend almost 67% over the last seven years for a compound annual growth rate of 7.6%.

"This dividend increase reflects our strong cash flow, our commitment to shareholder value, and the confidence of management and the Heinz Board of Directors in the future of the Company,” said William R. Johnson, Heinz Chairman, President and CEO.

The Board also declared a dividend of 42.5 cents per share on the Company's Third Cumulative Preferred Stock, $1.70 First Series, payable July 1, 2010 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 24, 2010.

H.J. Heinz Company, is a global marketer and producer of foods such as ketchup, sauces, meals, soups, snacks and infant nutrition. Heinz is a global family of branded products, including Heinz® Ketchup, sauces, soups, beans, pasta and infant foods (representing over one-third of Heinz’s total sales), Ore-Ida® potato products, Weight Watchers® Smart Ones® entrees, T.G.I. Friday’s® snacks and Plasmon® infant nutrition.

Knight Transportation, Inc. (NYSE: KNX) May 20, 2010, Phoenix, AZ announced that its board of directors has declared an increase of the company's quarterly cash dividend to $0.06 per share of common stock. Prior to this 20% increase, the company's quarterly dividend had been $0.05 per share of common stock. This quarterly dividend is pursuant to a cash dividend policy approved by the board of directors. The actual declaration of future cash dividends, and the establishment of record and payment dates, is subject to final determination by the board of directors each quarter after its review of the company's financial performance.

The company's dividend is payable to shareholders of record on June 4, 2010 and is expected to be paid on June 25, 2010.
Knight Transportation, Inc. is a truckload carrier offering dry van, refrigerated, intermodal and brokerage services to customers through a network of service centers located throughout the United States serving North America. The principal types of freight transported include consumer staples, retail, paper products, packaging/plastics, manufacturing, and import/export commodities.

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) May 28, 2010, Mooresville, NC has declared a 22% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to eleven cents ($0.11) per share, payable August 4, 2010, to shareholders of record as of July 21, 2010. Lowe’s has declared a cash dividend each quarter since going public in 1961.

Fiscal year 2009 sales are $47.2 billion. Lowe's Companies, Inc. has approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,700 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe's is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world.

McKesson Corporation (NYSE: MCK) May 26, 2010, San Francisco, CA announced a change in its dividend policy by increasing the amount of the company's regular quarterly dividend by 50%. The board of directors implemented the increase immediately by declaring a dividend of eighteen cents per share on the Common Stock, payable on July 1, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 10, 2010.

"Based on our confidence in our business and future cash flow generation, the Board of Directors has increased the quarterly dividend from twelve cents to eighteen cents per share," said John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer. "We remain committed to our portfolio approach to capital deployment, which we believe will create significant value for our shareholders."

McKesson Corporation is a healthcare services and information technology company that works to help its customers reduce costs, streamline processes, and improve the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 177-year history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients.

Monro Muffler Brake, Inc. (NASDAQ: MNRO) May 27, 2010, Rochester, NY a provider of automotive undercar repair and tire services, announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 27, 2010.

Robert G. Gross, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are very pleased with our strong performance for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2010. Throughout the year, we drove traffic and sales in all of our key categories and acquired and integrated 74 stores. Additionally, during the quarter we converted 54 Monro service stores in New England to our Black Gold format, which is expected to provide additional momentum in those markets heading into fiscal 2011 and represents a further benefit of the Tire Warehouse acquisition. Further, Tire Warehouse, along with our two other acquisitions during the year -- Autotire and Midwest Tire -- saw comparable store sales growth of approximately 11% for the fourth quarter, exceeding our expectations and contributing to our top and bottom-line performance. We are delighted with our comparable store sales increase of 7.2% for the year, on top of a 6.7% increase last year. Notably, fiscal 2010 marked our ninth consecutive year of same store sales growth, proving that our company-operated business model is well positioned to deliver solid results in both favorable and challenging economic times. Overall, we remain very pleased with our performance, which is a direct result of the ability of our employees to execute well and consistently provide excellent service to our loyal customers."

As previously announced, the company's board of directors has approved a $.02 increase in the company's cash dividend for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 to $.09 per share, representing an increase of 28.6% from the quarterly dividends paid in fiscal 2010. The cash dividend is payable on the company's outstanding shares of common stock including the shares of common stock to which the holders of the Company's Class C Convertible Preferred Stock are entitled. The increased dividend will be payable on June 18, 2010 to shareholders of record as of June 8, 2010.

Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) May 18, 2010, Seattle, WA announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, an increase of 4 cents or 25% over the previous quarter's dividend. The dividend is payable on June 15, 2010, to shareholders of record on May 28, 2010.

Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation's leading fashion specialty retailers, with 193 stores located in 28 states. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 114 full-line stores, 76 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques and one clearance store.

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) May 19, 2010, Los Angeles, CA, declared a quarterly dividend of $0.47 per share on Northrop Grumman common stock, a 9.3 percent increase from $0.43 per share.

This is the seventh consecutive annual increase in Northrop Grumman's quarterly dividend.

The dividend is payable June 12, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business June 1, 2010.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a lglobal security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

OPNET Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPNT), May 11, 2010, Bethesda, MD, a provider of solutions for managing networks and applications, announced that revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter, ended March 31, 2010, was $34.4 million, compared to $28.9 million for the same quarter in the prior fiscal year. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 were $0.11, compared to negative $0.00 for the same quarter in the prior fiscal year. The company also announced a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share, which represents one quarter of the company's fiscal 2011 annual dividend target of $0.40, payable on June 30, 2010 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on June 15, 2010. The company paid a total dividend of $0.36 per share during fiscal 2010.

Marc A. Cohen, OPNET’s Chairman and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to report strong execution during the first calendar quarter of 2010. We achieved several noteworthy financial records, including total revenue of $34.4 million, product revenue of $16.2 million, total cash and cash equivalents of $104.7 million, and deferred revenue of $43.4 million.”

Mr. Cohen continued, “Our application performance management (APM) solutions continue to drive sales growth. APM product sales accounted for 54% of our total product bookings during the quarter, and increased 36% over the same quarter last year. Our APM product sales decreased sequentially from the third quarter of fiscal 2010 by 14%; however, we expected a sequential decline given that December represents a seasonally strong quarter for corporate enterprises. We believe that the year-over-year growth in APM is being driven by both superior analytics, and our end-to-end solutions that span networks, applications, and systems. We further believe that these competitive advantages can generate sustained growth in product revenue and profitability over the long term. More importantly, the quarter’s success demonstrates our increasing ability to penetrate the multi-billion dollar APM market.”

Public Storage (NYSE: PSA) May 10, 2010, Glendale, CA declared a 23% dividend increase from USD 0.65 to USD 0.8, to shareholders of record on June 15th, 2010. Public Storage is a real estate investment trust. The Trust’s principal business activities include the acquisition, development, ownership and operation of self-storage facilities, which offer storage spaces for lease, generally on a month-to-month basis, for personal and business use. The Trust is an owner and operator of self-storage facilities in the United States. It operates in three segments: Domestic Self-Storage, Europe Self-Storage and Commercial.

Quanex Building Products Corporation (NYSE: NX) May 27, 2010, Houston, TX, announced that its board of directors authorized an annual dividend increase of $0.04 per common share outstanding. The company stated the annual dividend is now $0.16 per share, a 33% increase over the previous annual dividend. The second quarter dividend of $0.04 per share is payable June 30, 2010 to shareholders of record on June 16, 2010. The Board also authorized a stock repurchase program for up to 1 million shares that will be used to purchase shares from time to time.

"With the continued implementation of our long-term strategy, coupled with a slow recovery in our end markets, we expect to generate healthy cash flows through the next business cycle," said David D. Petratis, chairman and chief executive officer. "While making acquisitions in the fenestration market remain a priority for the company, raising the dividend and purchasing shares demonstrates our confidence in the future and directly benefits our long-term shareholders."

Quanex Building Products Corporation is a manufacturer of engineered materials, components and systems serving the U.S. residential window and door markets.

Raven Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVN) May 21, 2010 delivered a net income of $12.9 million, or 72 cents per share in its first quarter, ended April 30, 2010, up from $9.2 million or 51 cents per share in the year-ago period.

During the reported quarter, Raven declared a 14% increase in the company’s regular quarterly cash dividend to 16 cents per share. This is the company’s 24th consecutive annual cash dividend increase.

Raven’s current orders at the Applied Technology and Engineered Films segments remain strong, which bodes well for the coming quarters. In the Electronic Systems segment, Raven intends to pursue a low volume/high mix project in its niche markets such as secure communications.

At the Aerostar segment, Raven has over $7 million in tethered aerostat backlog at the end of last month and has received an additional $7 million of new orders in this month. As Raven ramps the $12 million annual delivery level under the T-11 Army Airborne parachute contract, Aerostar’s profitability is expected to be affected in the first half of the fiscal year. Raven continues to make further investments to develop its aerostat product line.

Raven remains cautious on the pace of economic recovery. The company plans to focus on new products and geographic expansion. Raven plans to invest more on research & development in fiscal 2011 to strengthen its lead in precision agriculture and advance its position in tethered aerostats.

Republic Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: RBCAA) May 19, 2010, Louisville, KY, parent company of Republic Bank & Trust Company and Republic Bank, today announced an 8% increase in the company's second quarter cash dividends. The cash dividend of $0.143 per share of Class A Common Stock and $0.13 per share on Class B Common Stock will be payable July 16, 2010 to shareholders of record as of June 18, 2010.

“We are pleased to announce the 9th consecutive annual increase in our quarterly cash dividend. Our strong performance and capital position, combined with our continued positive outlook for the future, will once again allow our shareholders to benefit through an increased cash dividend - an achievement few companies can site in today's difficult economy. We thank our loyal shareholders for their continued support as we, in turn, reciprocate through a higher dividend. As this positive news demonstrates, we were here for you yesterday. We are here for you today. We will be here for you tomorrow," commented Steve Trager, President and CEO for Republic.

Republic Bancorp, Inc. has 44 banking centers and is the parent company of: Republic Bank & Trust Company with 35 banking centers in 13 Kentucky communities - Bowling Green, Covington, Crestwood, Elizabethtown, Florence, Frankfort, Georgetown, Independence, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Shelbyville and Shepherdsville and three banking centers in southern Indiana: Floyds Knobs, Jeffersonville and New Albany. Republic Bank has banking centers in Hudson, Palm Harbor, Port Richey, New Port Richey and Temple Terrace, Florida as well as Cincinnati, Ohio. Republic operates Tax Refund Solutions, a nationwide tax refund loan and check provider. Republic has $3.2 billion in assets and $1 billion in trust assets under custody and management. Republic is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, and Republic's Class A Common Stock is listed under the symbol 'RBCAA' on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) May 19, 2010, Pleasanton, CA, announced that its board of directors met today and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend and approved a 20% increase from $0.10 per share to $0.12 per share on a quarterly basis. The cash dividend of $0.12 will be payable on July 15, 2010, to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 24, 2010.

Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales. The company operates 1,712 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $40.9 billion in 2009. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) May 20, 2010, New York, NY, declared a dividend of $0.25 per share of Common Stock, which reflects a 25% increase in the quarterly rate. This is the second announced increase in the quarterly dividend payment policy since the start of the calendar year and increases the quarterly dividend from $0.20 per share (or $0.80 annually) to a new rate of $0.25 per share (or $1.00 per share annually).

Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer, announced the increase at the Company's Annual Meeting of Stockholders and said, "Following an 18% increase in the quarterly dividend rate earlier this year, this action again demonstrates the Board's recognition of our strong balance sheet liquidity and their confidence in Tiffany's long-term earnings growth potential."

The dividend declared today will be paid on July 12, 2010 to stockholders of record on June 21, 2010. Future dividends are subject to declaration by the directors.

Tiffany & Co. operates jewelry stores and manufactures products through its subsidiary corporations. Its principal subsidiary is Tiffany and Company. The Company operates TIFFANY & CO. retail stores and boutiques in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe and engages in direct selling through Internet, catalog and business gift operations.

Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TRH) May 26, 2010, New York, NY, announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.21 per share on the Company's common stock, payable September 17, 2010, to stockholders of record on September 3, 2010. This represents a five percent increase in the quarterly dividend on TRH common stock. The Board of Directors has raised the quarterly dividend every year since TRH became a public company in 1990.

Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. (TRH) is an international reinsurance organization headquartered in New York, with operations on six continents. Its subsidiaries, Transatlantic Reinsurance Company®, Trans Re Zurich Reinsurance Company Ltd and Putnam Reinsurance Company, offer reinsurance capacity on both a treaty and facultative basis structuring programs for a full range of property and casualty products, with an emphasis on specialty risks.

United Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: UBSI) May 4, 2010, Charleston, WV, board of directors declared a second quarter dividend of $0.30 per share for shareholders of record as of June 11, 2010. This is a 3% increase over the $0.29 per share paid in the second quarter of 2009. The dividend payout of approximately $13.1 million on 43.5 million shares is payable July 1, 2010. United has increased its dividend to shareholders for 36 consecutive years.
United Bankshares, with $7.6 billion in assets, has 113 full-service offices in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) May 26, 2010, Minneapolis, MN, announced that its board of directors, at its regular meeting on May 25, 2010, increased the company's cash dividend to shareholders and moved the company to a quarterly dividend payment cycle. The first quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share will be paid on June 21, 2010 to all shareholders of record of UnitedHealth Group common stock as of the close of business on June 7, 2010.
"Our disciplined capital stewardship enables us to continue to return capital to our shareholders. We are increasing the size and frequency of our dividends, while continuing an effective share repurchase program, making sound investments in growth and maintaining a strong balance sheet and financial flexibility," said Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group.

After reviewing the company's business outlook and future capital requirements, the board approved a quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share. At the quarterly rate, a full year of dividends would represent approximately 12 percent to 13 percent of projected 2010 company cash flows from operations. Future quarterly dividend payments are subject to board approval and may be adjusted as business needs or market conditions change. Most recently, the company paid a $0.03 per share annual dividend in April, 2010.

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) May 20, 2010, Chattanooga, TN, announced that its board of directors authorized an increase of 12.1 percent in the quarterly dividend paid on its common stock. The new quarterly dividend rate of $0.0925 per common share will be effective with the dividend expected to be paid in the third quarter of 2010.

"Our consistent operating performance and strong capital position have positioned us well to again increase our common stock dividend," said Thomas R. Watjen, president and chief executive officer. "This action, along with today's decision by our board to authorize the repurchase of $500 million of our common stock, represents a balanced approach to deploying our excess capital in a way that creates value for our shareholders, yet also allows us to continue to invest in our businesses and capitalize on market opportunities as they arise."

As a result of today's announcements, the company is adjusting its guidance for year-end 2010 holding company cash and marketable securities to be in excess of $500 million, but continues to expect to close 2010 with weighted average risk-based capital levels of approximately 375 percent to 400 percent at its traditional U.S. insurance subsidiaries.

The company had previously raised its quarterly dividend 10 percent with the dividend paid in the third quarter of 2009 and completed a $700 million share repurchase in 2008.

Unum is a provider of employee benefits products and services and the largest provider of group and individual disability insurance in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM) May 27, 2010, San Francisco, CA, announced that its board of directors has authorized a $60 million stock repurchase program and a 15% increase in the company's quarterly cash dividend.

Adrian Bellamy, Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented, "Today, we are very pleased to announce that our Board has authorized both a $60 million common stock repurchase program and a $0.02, or 15%, increase in our quarterly dividend. The $60 million stock repurchase program reflects the Board's objective to offset dilution from equity compensation programs on an ongoing basis. We anticipate completion of this program before the end of our fiscal year and the approval of a subsequent program at that time. The $0.02, or 15%, increase in our quarterly dividend to $0.15 per share is our second quarterly dividend increase this year. Including the $0.01 per share increase we announced in March, our total quarterly dividend increase for the year is 25%, or $0.03 per share."

Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer, remarked, "Our decision today to increase the amount of cash we are returning to shareholders has been based upon our rapidly improving financial performance, as evidenced by our results over the past several quarters. As we have said before, we are confident in the cash-generating power of our multi-channel, multi-brand business model. Based on this confidence, our strong cash position today, and a projected cash flow that exceeds the funding requirements of our future growth, we believe this is an ideal time to further demonstrate our commitment to returning capital to our shareholders by authorizing this stock repurchase program and increasing our dividend payout."
The stock repurchase program authorizes the purchase of $60 million of the company's common stock through open market and privately negotiated transactions, at times and in such amounts as management deems appropriate. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, capital availability, and other market conditions. The stock repurchase program does not have an expiration date and may be limited or terminated at any time without prior notice. As of May 2, 2010, there were 107,930,873 common shares outstanding.

The quarterly cash dividend will be increased by $0.02 to $0.15 per common share and is payable on August 24, 2010 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on July 27, 2010. The aggregate quarterly dividend is estimated at approximately $16 million based on the current number of outstanding common shares. The indicated annual cash dividend, subject to capital availability, is $0.60 per common share, or approximately $65 million, based on the current number of common shares outstanding.

W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) May 18, 2010, Greenwich, CT, announced that its board of directors has voted to increase the cash dividend to an annual rate of 28 cents per share, representing a 17% increase from the present rate. The first quarterly dividend at the new rate of seven cents per share will be paid on July 1, 2010 to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 14, 2010.

Founded in 1967, W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company that is among the largest commercial lines writers in the United States and operates in five segments of the property casualty insurance business: specialty insurance, regional property casualty insurance, alternative markets, reinsurance, and international.

The Xcel Energy Inc.(NYSE: XEL) May 19, 2010, Minneapolis, MN, board of directors declared regular quarterly dividends on all series of outstanding preferred stock, which are payable on July 15, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 24, 2010.

The board also raised the quarterly dividend on the company's common stock from 24.50 cents per share to 25.25 cents per share, which is equivalent to an annual rate of $1.01 per share. The board declared the second quarter common stock dividend payable July 20, 2010, to shareholders of record on June 24, 2010.

"The board recognizes the importance of the dividend to our shareholders. The increase in the dividend is consistent with our goal of growing the dividend 2-4 percent annually," said Richard C. Kelly, chairman and CEO.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company, with operations in 8 Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.


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