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Men's Wearhouse, Schlumberger, Others Raise Dividends

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES A wide group of companies said they will raise their dividends Thursday, joining a growing list of corporations that have ramped up shareholder-friendly payouts to woo investors. Retailer Men's Wearhouse Inc. (MW) lifted its quarterly dividend by 50%, affirming what it called an ongoing ability to deliver free cash flow. The 6-cent boost to 18 cents a share will cost the men's clothing seller $12.3 million more each year. Many companies have increased dividends in recent months to spend excess cash and reassure investors worried by macroeconomic concerns. "Our goal is to deliver attractive growth and continued margin expansion while remaining dedicated to a balanced total shareholder return agenda," Men's Wearhouse Chief Executive Doug Ewert said. Oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB), meanwhile, raised its quarterly dividend 10%. Its 2.5-cent increase to 27.5 cents a share will cost an extra $134.2 million a year. Power and natural-gas distributor CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP) raised its payout 2.5%, marking seven straight years of dividend increases. The half-cent increase to 20.25 cents a share will cost the company about $8.5 million more each year. President and Chief Executive David M. McClanahan said the increase demonstrates the company's confidence in its ability to deliver sustainable earnings and cash flow. Williams Cos. (WMB) said its first-quarter dividend will more than double over its year-ago payout, with dividends expected to come more frequently. The oil-and-gas pipeline company plans to pay a 25.875-cent per-share payout on March 26 and raised its full-year dividend forecast to $1.09 a share, up 41% from 2011. Williams's previous 2012 dividend forecast was $1.03 a share. The company said quarterly increases will prove more consistent with growing cash distributions it is expected to get from its ownership interest in Williams Partners LP (WPZ). Williams itself expects its dividend to increase 10% to 15% on an annual basis. Men's Wearhouse shares were up 5 cents at $34.76 in light trading after the close Thursday. Schlumberger was off 26 cents at $72.60, while CenterPoint rose 8 cents to $18.51. Williams was off a penny at $28.73 after hours. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com

Stock News for Williams Partners (WPZ)
DateTimeHeadline
02/26/201417:10:34Williams Cos. to Sell Canadian Assets for $1.2 Billion
02/19/201418:25:52Williams Swings to Loss; Williams Partners Profit Falls 27%
11/15/201309:18:03OZ Management LP 3Q 13F: Largest Purchases -2-
11/15/201309:18:02OZ Management LP 3Q 13F: Holdings As Of Sep 30
11/15/201309:18:02OZ Management LP 3Q 13F: Holdings As Of Sep 30 -2-
11/15/201309:18:02OZ Management LP 3Q 13F: Largest Purchases
10/31/201306:45:45U.S. Hot Stocks Futures: Hot Stocks to Watch
10/30/201317:45:10Williams 3rd-Quarter Profit Down 7.1%; Williams Partners Earnings...
08/02/201309:21:17U.S. HOT STOCK FUTURES: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH
07/31/201317:06:16Williams 2nd-Quarter Profit Up 7.6%; Williams Partners Up 5.3%
06/13/201314:00:15CORRECT: PRESS RELEASE: Explosion at Williams' Geismar Plant
05/07/201317:21:04Williams Cos 1st-Quarter Net Falls 62% on Weaker NGL Margins
04/11/201318:24:08Williams Partners Unveils Gas-Gathering Joint-Venture With Shell
03/05/201310:21:59Williams Partners' Increased Offering Priced at 2.8% Discount
03/05/201309:29:17U.S. Stock Futures Rally; Dow Set To Open Above Record High
03/04/201319:44:17Five Companies Disclose Secondary Offerings
02/20/201317:00:30Williams Cos Swings to Fourth-Quarter Profit; Williams Partners...
01/08/201309:22:14U.S. HOT STOCKS FUTURES: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH
10/31/201217:29:41Williams Partners, Williams Reach Olefins Operation Deal; Both...
08/09/201212:50:10More Than $2 Billion of New Issues Hit U.S. Corporate-Bond Market

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