Avnet Inc. said Tuesday that it will raise its quarterly dividend by 5.9% and boost its stock repurchase program by $500 million, in the wake of the sale of its technology solutions business announced this week. The new dividend, which increases to 18 cents a share from 17 cents a share, will be payable March 28 to shareholders of record on March 14. The company said it now has $675 million available for share buybacks. "The approximately $2 billion of after-tax proceeds from the sale will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet and return a meaningful amount of cash to our shareholders, while maintaining ample liquidity to fund future growth," said Chief Executive William Amelio. The electronic components seller's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has inched up 0.3% over the past three months, while the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF has run up 9.5% and the S&P 500 has climbed 7.6%.
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