Wal-Mart raises dividend 20.6 percent


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Store Inc said it is increasing its annual dividend nearly 21 percent, citing its sales and profit performance and ability to generate cash in the fiscal year just ended.

Wal-Mart said its board approved a dividend of $1.46 per year in fiscal 2012, which ends next January, up from $1.21. That translates to about $5.2 billion paid out to shareholders.

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The first quarterly dividend will be payable on April 4 to shareholders of record on March 11.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported net income of $6.1 billion in the quarter ended in January, on sales of $115.6 billion. But it also reported a seventh straight drop in sales at its U.S. stores open at least a year.

Shares were up 49 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $52.50 in after-hours trading.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Gunna Dickson)

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