Pfizer to pay increased quarterly dividend

Pfizer, Inc., recently announced an increased dividend for its common stock.

Pfizer's board of directors agreed to a 24 cent first quarter 2013 dividend payable March 5, 2013, to shareholders of record on February 1, 2013. The dividend increase totals nine percent, or two cents per share.

The first-quarter cash dividend marks the 297th consecutive quarter Pfizer has paid a dividend.

"The dividend increase is a testament to our continued commitment to returning capital to shareholders and demonstrates our continued confidence in the business," Ian Read, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer, said. "We remain focused on total return to shareholders, of which the dividend is a key component."

Shares of the New York-based drug maker rose 24 cents to $25.42 in midday trading on the day of the announcement.

Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, recently received good news in the form of impressive clinical results for its blood thinning medication, Eliquis. The drug managed to significantly reduce blood clot risks in patients during a phase III study. The outcome is expected to help Pfizer gain access to much larger markets. It has already been approved in several countries, excluding the United States, according to