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Money

Kinder Morgan raises dividend by 60%

The earnings results for Kinder Morgan's (KMI) first quarter were in line; it's 60% increase in the annual dividend was more aggressive than expected. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest payments, taxes, and depreciation) was $1.90 billion for the quarter, slightly ahead of the Wall Street consensus of $1.87 billion. Distributable cash flow--arguably the most important number for investors who hold this stock for its dividend--climbed to $1.25 billion, above consensus estimates. The company announced that it would raise its dividend 60%

Oil continues to move higher on Middle East fears

Oil futures in New York settled at their highest since December 2014. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate climbed 0.35% to close at $68.88 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude rose 0.88% to $74.71 a barrel. The gains were unusual in that the U.S. dollar strengthened today. But the markets had news of another missile attack on Saudi Arabia--again unsuccessful--by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis are backed by Iran and Yemen has become a proxy war for power in the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia (and by extension, Russia and the United States.)

Dividend Portfolio member Independent Bank beats on earnings today

Independent Bank (IBCP) reported first quarter earnings of 42 cents a share today. That's up from 28 cents a share in the first quarter of 2017. Special items added 4 cents a share to earnings. The reduction in the bank's tax rate thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of December added 7 cents a share to earnings. Aside from these events, the bank's core business did well in the quarter.

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