Microsoft is now one among the 3 companies in the US that have AAA rating from S&P. The AAA rating is awarded for those companies with the utmost financial strength and discipline in meeting all obligations. As Automatic Data Processing was stripped of AAA credit rating, Microsoft and two other U.S. companies is now holding the coveted AAA rating from S&P. The other two companies on this list are Johnson & Johnson and Exxon-Mobil. The number of companies with the top-credit rating has been dwindling for years. Back in 1980, there were more than 60 U.S. companies rated AAA by S&P. That fell to six in 2008. Since then, industrial company General Electric, drugmaker Pfizer and now ADP have been downgraded. Some companies find ways to pull themselves back into the top credit level. Food company Kellogg, was downgraded to AA+ on Dec. 12, 1984, but managed to work its way ...

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Microsoft Corp. today announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share, reflecting a 4 cent or 25 percent increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable December 8, 2011 to shareholders of record on November 17, 2011. The ex-dividend date will be November 15, 2011. The dividend can be annualized to around 2.95% at the current share price, better than the 10 year US Treasury Bill rate, which is closer to 2%. “Our strong financial results enable us to increase our dividend as part of our ongoing commitment to return capital to our shareholders,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer of Microsoft. In the last quarter Microsoft announced record revenue of $17.37 billion and profits of $5.87 billion. The company is continuing its $40 billion share repurchase program approved by the board of directors in September 2008. The repurchase program, which expires ...

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