Optimistic Moody’s ups its dividend

Article Excerpt

MOODY’S CORP. $42 (New York symbol MCO; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Finance sector; Shares outstanding: 222.9 million; Market cap: $9.4 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 4.1; Dividend yield: 1.5%; TSINetwork Rating: Average; www.moodys.com) continues to see rising demand for its credit ratings as the global economy improves. In 2011, the company’s earnings rose 12.1%, to $564.4 million from $503.3 million in 2010. Moody’s spent $333.8 million on share buybacks during the year. Because of fewer shares outstanding, earnings per share rose 15.5%, to $2.46 from $2.13. Revenue rose 12.2%, to $2.3 billion from $2.0 billion. For 2012, Moody’s expects to earn $2.68 a share. The stock trades at 15.7 times that estimate. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 14.3%, to $0.16 a share from $0.14. The new annual rate of $0.64 yields 1.5%. Moody’s is a buy. buy…

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