Earlier this week, Medtronic (MDT) announced a 50% increase in the company's quarterly dividend. The new quarterly dividend increases to 18.75 cents per share versus 12.50 cents per share in the same quarter last year. The estimated payout ratio is 25% based on April 2009 estimated earnings per share of $2.98. The 5-year average payout ratio is 18%. Could this rate of increase be an indication of stronger earnings going forward? The company maintains an S&P Quality Ranking of A-.
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