Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. (MRK)
announced on Thursday that they are maintaining their quarterly dividend
payment of $.38 per share.
Merck’s current dividend yield now stands at 5.7%.
Within the Dow Jones index, Merck now offers the fourth highest dividend yield
among the 30 Dow component stocks. Only AT&T (T),
and DuPont (DD)
offer higher dividend yields.
The dividend will be payable on July 1, 2009 to
shareholders of record as of June 8, 2009.
Since the beginning of the year, Merck’s shares have
fallen over 12% after dropping almost 48% in 2008.
While Merck’s falling stock price has produced a very
high dividend yield, there doesn’t appear to be any reason for the company to
reduce their dividend payment in the near term. Wall Street analysts expect MRK
to earn $3.21 per share this year, while their current annual dividend payout
is only $1.52 per share. That results in a dividend payout ratio of less than
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