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Linde (LIN) to Reward Shareholders With 10% Dividend Hike

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Linde plc (LIN - Free Report) announced that its board of directors has approved an increase in quarterly dividend. 

The new dividend of 96.3 cents per share is 10% higher than the previous figure of 87.5 cents. The increased dividend will be paid on Mar 20, to its shareholders of record as of Mar 6. Following the hike, the company’s new annualized dividend amounted to $3.85 per share. Based on the closing price of $210.55 per share on Feb 24, 2020, the stock has a dividend yield of 1.8%.

Should You Take Advantage of the Hikes?

The company is focused on returning cash to its shareholders. Notably, in 2019, it returned $7.7 billion to its shareholders. It bought back $2.6 billion worth of shares and paid dividends of $1.9 billion. Such activities are part of Linde’s long-term goal of boosting shareholder value.

Precisely, significant demand for industrial gases like hydrogen — being used for refining of raw crude — and oxygen — made use for producing steel — will continue to fetch the company with incremental cash flows. This will further support its goal of boosting shareholder value.

Linde reported adjusted earnings of $1.89 per share in fourth-quarter 2019, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.84 on the back of improved prices across Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa. The company expects 2020 adjusted earnings per share within $8-$8.25, suggesting a year-over-year improvement of 9-12%. This will be supported by its industry-leading backlog and business optimization moves.

Price Performance

In the past year, Linde has gained 20.6% against 11.9% decline of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Rank and Other Stocks to Consider

Linde currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the energy sector include Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO - Free Report) , Chevron Corporation (CVX - Free Report) and Hess Corporation (HES - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Marathon Oil’s earnings per share estimates of 46 cents for 2020 have witnessed seven upward revisions and one downward movement in the past 60 days.

Chevron’s bottom line for 2020 is expected to rise 12.8% year over year.

Hess’ bottom line for 2020 is expected to rise 93.7% year over year.

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