These two insurers just raised their dividends

Article Excerpt

MANULIFE FINANCIAL CORP. $22 (Toronto symbol MFC; Conservative-Growth Payer Portfolio; Finance sector; Shares o/s: 2.0 billion; Market cap: $44.0 billion; Dividend yield: 4.5%; Dividend Sustainability Rating: Above Average; www.manulife.ca) is Canada’s largest life insurance provider. It also sells other forms of insurance, including health, dental and travel plans. That’s in addition to offering mutual funds and investment management services. Starting with the December 2018 payment, Manulife raised its quarterly dividend by 13.6%, to $0.25 a share from $0.22. The new annual rate of $1.00 yields a high 4.5%. The company’s dividend payout ratio is 31.6%. That’s at the low end of its annual target of 30% to 40% In the quarter ended September 30, 2018, the company’s earnings jumped 41.8%, to $1.5 billion from $1.1 billion a year earlier. On a per-share basis, earnings rose 41.5%, to $0.75 a share from $0.53. The increase is due to strong growth for Manulife’s Asia and Global wealth and asset management businesses. Lower U.S. taxes also contributed. The company’s…

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