Walmart boosts annual dividend by 9 percent

Shoppers wheel their purchases out of a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles, Calif. before dawn on Black Friday, Nov. 27, 2009.
OBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) is raising its annual dividend by 9 percent to $1.59 per share.

The world's biggest retailer says the dividend will be paid quarterly at a rate of 39.75 cents per share. The first such dividend will be paid April 4 to shareholders of record March 12.

The Bentonville, Ark., company has increased its dividend every year since its first declared dividend in March 1974.

Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke also said Thursday that the company's U.S. business is back on track, while international results remain strong.

Last month Walmart reported its fourth-quarter results, which showed its business is rebounding in the U.S. It posted its second consecutive quarterly gain in revenue at stores opened at least a year at its namesake Wal-Mart stores in the U.S.