ConocoPhillips said it will buy back up to $4 billion of its common stock this year, $3 billion more than the company announced just three weeks ago. Up to $1 billion is scheduled to be repurchased by the end of the first quarter. The Houston-based producer announced three separate $1 billion share buybacks in 2005, but there were no repurchase programs announced last year (see Daily GPI, Oct. 14, 2005). The repurchases this year will be made at management's discretion at prevailing prices, and may be increased, decreased or discontinued at any time, ConocoPhillips noted. The company also announced a quarterly dividend rate hike of 14% to 41 cents/share from 36 cents. The dividend is payable March 1 to shareholders of record at close of business Feb. 20.
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