Drugmaker Eli Lilly bumps up quarterly dividend by a penny in first increase since 2009

IndustriesAssociated Press

Shares of Eli Lilly outpaced broader trading indexes Tuesday morning, a day after the drugmaker announced its first dividend increase in more than five years.

The maker of the antidepressant Cymbalta said Monday after markets closed that its board backed an increase of a penny, or 2 percent. That will raise the quarterly payout to 50 cents per share, or $2 annually.

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Lilly has been dealing with a drop in both earnings and revenue due to the loss of patents protecting key drugs from cheaper generic competition. Company executives have said they remained committed to the dividend, despite the financial blows the company was absorbing, but some analysts have questioned whether that commitment might waver.

Analysts also expect Lilly's business to start improving after this year.

Lilly's new dividend will be payable March 10 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 13.

Eli Lilly and Co. shares climbed about 1 percent, or 71 cents, to $70.38 Tuesday, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index was nearly flat.