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LTW, AP

RESEARCH TRAINGLE PARK, N.C. – (NYSE: IBM) shareholders will see their quarterly dividend jump to 65 cents from 55 cents, the company said Tuesday at its annual stockholders meeting in Milwaukee.

Big Blue, which employs some 10,000 people in the Triangle, also said it would buy back another $8 billion of its stock.

Both moves are intended to bolster IBM’s stock price. Shares traded Tuesday morning at $130.69. Its 52-week high is $134.25, the low is $$99.25.

“Our superior cash flow enables us to invest in the business and generate substantial returns to investors,” said IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano in a statement. “Since 2003, more than $80 billion was returned through dividends and share repurchase. Our commitment to delivering value to shareholders has never wavered.”

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The quarterly dividend had been 55 cents for each of the most recent four quarters. The new dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of May 10.

IBM has developed a habit of announcing dividend increases at its shareholder meetings. The per-share payout has more than tripled since 2006.

The company still has $2 billion remaining for its most recently stock buyback program. In a statement, the company said another share repurchase program is expected to be requested in October.

IBM noted that it has paid a quarterly dividend “every year since 1916.”

The tech giant has bought back more than $100 billion of its stock since 1995. The company says it still has plenty left over to invest in its businesses.

"This company, as a result of the investments made over the past eight years, has become very profitable with substantial cash flow," IBM’s Jesse Greene, vice president for financial management, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We have the cash to make investments for the future and return cash to our investors."

Greene noted that IBM, which brought in more than $95 billion in revenue in 2009, continued to put its usual $6 billion a year into research and development even during the recession.

IBM’s decision to return more cash to shareholders provides another sign of confidence from the technology sector as it rebounds from the recession. Last week IBM increased its profit forecast for 2010 to $11.20 per share.