McDonaldsMcDonald's (MCD) declared a quarterly cash dividend of 61 cents a share, an 11% increase over the previous quarterly dividend.

This brings the fourth quarter dividend payout to about $650 million, McDonald's said in a statement.

"With today's announced dividend increase, we expect the 2010 total cash returned to shareholders to be approximately $5 billion, split between dividends and share repurchases," CEO Jim Skinner said. "Today's dividend increase demonstrates our confidence in the long-term strength of our brand."

McDonald's has raised its dividend every year since it first paid one in 1976. The new quarterly dividend is equivalent to an annual rate of $2.44 a share.

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