RealTime IT News

United Online Makes a Big Statement

With its stock down nearly 70% since mid-2003, United Online decided to make a big statement.

The company initiated a stunning 9% quarterly dividend after the market close on Tuesday. The payout of 20 cents a share is about half the company's annual cash flow of $100 million — and more importantly, is an expression of confidence that that cash flow will continue.

"The Board's decision to return capital to shareholders via a dividend complements our existing share repurchase program and reflects confidence in United Online's strong cash flows," CFO Charles Hilliard said in a statement.

The company's first-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share met estimates, while revenues of $130.5 million were better than expected. The company also raised forward guidance.

The results and dividend appeared to get Wall Street's attention — United's stock jumped nearly 10% after hours.

Also after the close, Veritas beat estimates but issued cautious guidance. Macromedia beat estimates but announced plans to restate 1999-2004 results. Jupitermedia , publisher of this Web site, also topped forecasts.

Stocks finished mixed during the day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the eighth time in a year and suggested that the rate hikes will continue.

The Nasdaq rose 4 to 1933, the S&P 500 slipped 1 to 1161, and the Dow climbed 5 to 10,256. Volume rose to 2.16 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.88 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a few issues on the NYSE, and by a 15-14 margin on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 47% on the NYSE, and 62% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 50-48 on the NYSE, and 41-126 on the Nasdaq.

Siebel once again climbed on takeover speculation.

FindWhat.com plunged 26% after the company's auditor resigned.

Vishay , Commscope and Macrovision rose on their earnings reports.

EDS , Websidestory and Cincinnati Bell fell on their results.