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Dividend increases continue to rise, up nearly 6% through August

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it will be returning more cash to its shareholders, increasing its dividend 15% to 23 cents per share. The number of dividend increases among S&P 500 companies has climbed each year since 2009 and is up 5.8% year-to-date through August. 239 firms have increased their dividends through Aug. 31, with a median increase of 12%. From a sector perspective, financials have led the way, announcing 46 increases, followed by industrials and consumer discretionary firms, with 40 and 37 each, respectively.