Wal-Mart raises dividend 20.6 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Store Inc <WMT.N> 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.

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)