More Drug and BioHealth Dividends (MRX, WCRX, AMGN, MRK, PFE, PPH, BBH)
Medicis (NYSE: MRX), a specialty pharmaceutical company in treatments of dermatological and aesthetic conditions, has the talk going again about dividends in the drug and biotech sector. The company declared a quarter-end cash quarterly dividend of $0.06 payable on April 30, 2010 for holders of record at the close of business on April 1, 2010. This dividend hike is a 50% increase versus the previous $0.04 dividend and the last hike was in March 2008. But what is more important than Medicis is that this brings up the focus on dividends in both the pharma sector and potentially in the biotech sector.
Many investors have seen scores of dividend hikes since the end of December, which is the yardstick for a vote of confidence issued by a company. We have noted two more dividend candidates which are not currently paying dividends:
- Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) as the world’s largest independent biotech stock;
- Warner Chilcott plc (NASDAQ: WCRX) as perhaps the newest and best up and comer in the pharmaceuticals sector.
Neither pay a dividend. Not yet. It would seem that the most likely candidate of the two would be Warner Chilcott because companies like Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) do pay dividends with roughly a 4% yield. Here is a full dividend analysis we gave earlier on the sector.
So far Amgen is opting for share buybacks right now and it has not indicated that it will pay a dividend.
The two key ETF products we use to follow the biotech/drug sector are the Pharmaceutical HOLDRs (NYSE: PPM) and the Biotech HOLDRs (NYSE: BBH). Both have irregular dividends and he biotech is far more sporadic than the pharma HOLDR.
More dividends coming!
JON C. OGG