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Stewart Information double its dividend

HOUSTON (AP) -- Stewart Information Services Corp. announced Monday that it is doubling its dividend payment.

The company declared a cash dividend of 10 cents per share, up from its prior dividend of 5 cents per share. The new dividend is payable Dec. 28 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 14.

The Houston-based title insurance and real-estate services company typically makes its annual dividend payment in December.

However, a number of companies this year have made special dividend payments or moved up their usual dividend payment date because investors could pay higher taxes next year.

Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum 15 percent on dividend income. But that historically low rate will expire in January unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise on taxes and government spending. As it stands, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages, so rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend rate would jump to 43.4 percent