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Moody's Hikes Dividend; Announces $500 Mln Accelerated Share Buyback

While reporting its fourth-quarter financial results on Friday, Moody's Corp. (MCO) forecast fiscal 2019 revenue growth in the mid-single-digit percent range, reported earnings in a range of $7.30 to $7.55 per share, and adjusted earnings in a range of $7.85 to $8.10 per share.

The company projects strength in Moody's Analytics to offset expectations for flat to down issuance in global debt.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $7.94 per share for the year on revenues of $4.7 billion. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

In addition, Moody's announced a quarterly dividend of $0.50 per share of the company's common stock, a 14 percent increase from the prior quarterly dividend of $0.44 per share. This dividend will be payable on March 18, 2019 to stockholders of record at the close of business on February 25, 2019.

Moody's also announced a $500 million accelerated share repurchase program expected to be complete during the second quarter of 2019.

The company's outstanding shares as of December 31, 2018 totaled 191.3 million, approximately flat to December 31, 2017. As of December 31, 2018, Moody's had approximately $1.3 billion of share repurchase authority remaining.

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