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Recently, IDEX Corporation (IEX - Analyst Report) announced an 18% increase of its quarterly cash dividend per share from 17 cents to 20 cents. The company is scheduled to pay this dividend, which also happens to be its 70th consecutive regular quarterly cash dividend, on April 30, 2012 to its shareholdersof record as of April 20, 2012.

In 2011, IDEX paid a total dividend of $54.6 million to its shareholders and repurchased a total of $4.8 million shares of its common stock at $25.00 per share. Furthermore, during the final quarter of 2011, the company announced its decision to increase its common stock repurchasing authorization by another $50 million, amounting to a total of $75 million.

IDEX has forever maintained a healthy cash position. Ending 2011, it recorded adjusted free cash flow of $73.5 million along with cash flow from operating activities of $41.6 million. It is lucid that the continual buy-back activities and dividend hikes stem from its steady cash balances.

Catering to investors’ interests is an attribute not singular only to IDEX. Its peer, Sun Hydraulics Corp. (SNHY - Snapshot Report) paid dividends of nearly $9.6 million in 2011. Also, Robbins & Myers, Inc. invested almost $95 million to repurchase its own shares and about $4.3 million to pay dividends to its shareholders during the first six months of its fiscal year 2012.

It is imperative that IDEX remains wary of the industry it pertains to with regard to retaining confidence of its investors in its stock. The current Zacks Consensus Estimates for IDEX are$0.64 and $2.79 for the first quarter and full year 2012, respectively.

The company currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Hold’ rating. We also maintain a long-term ‘Neutral’ recommendation on the stock.

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