ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) has announced its decision to raise its annual dividend by 21 percent, making it the largest annual payer in the world in dollar terms. The hike to 57 cents, from 47 cents a quarter, also clearly shows the world’s largest oil company doesn’t expect oil prices to drop anytime soon.
Exxon’s new annual dividend yield of $2.28 means it will pay out $10.7 billion, topping AT&T’s (NYSE:T) $10.4 billion and Apple’s (NYSE:AAPL) $9.9 billion. Apple only announced its decision to reinstate dividend payments this past March.
The size of the dividend increase is higher than analysts expected and narrows its gap, in percentage terms, with rival Chevron (NYSE:CVX). Exxon’s yield will increase to 2.64 percent, closer to Chevron’s 3.4 percent and both Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS) and BP’s (NYSE:BP) 4 percent yields.
The new dividend raises the S&P 500’s indicated dividend rate to $30.69, from $30.50.
Exxon, which is announcing first-quarter earnings on Thursday, is expected to report flat earnings growth after the fall in natural gas prices. The company is expected to earn $2.10 per share in the first quarter, compared with $2.14 per share in the same period last year.