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Halliburton raises dividend 39 pct to 12.5 cents

HOUSTON (AP) -- Halliburton said Wednesday it is raising its quarterly dividend 39 percent and is starting stock buybacks.

The Houston company, which provides services to oil and gas companies, including drilling and building wells and managing geological data, will pay a dividend of 12.5 cents March 27 to shareholders of record on March 6. The prior dividend was 9 cents.

Halliburton said it plans to return 15 to 20 percent of its annual net income to shareholders through dividends. It earned $2.64 billion last year.

Halliburton also said it is starting "systemic" stock buybacks under its existing authorization worth up to $1.7 billion. Halliburton had 931.8 million shares on the market as of Feb. 1.

Shares of the company closed at $41.62, down $1.19, or 2.8 percent. The stock has rallied nearly 20 percent in the year to date.