LOS ANGELES McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) raised its quarterly cash dividend by 11 percent on Thursday.
The world's largest hamburger chain said it will now pay a dividend of 61 cents a share, and sees total cash returned to shareholders of about $5 billion in 2010, split between dividends and share repurchases.
The quarterly dividend is equivalent to $2.44 per share annually.
The resulting 3.2 percent yield is the highest in the fast-food industry, Barclays Capital analyst Jeffrey Bernstein said in a client note.
Bernstein said the dividend increase was in line with last year's, but more modest than in the years prior due to slower growth.
The dividend is payable on December 15 to shareholders of record as of December 1.
The company's appeal to families and retirees has helped it steal market share from chains like Burger King Holdings Inc BKC.N and KFC, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N).
The chain's global same-store sales were up 4.9 percent for August.
McDonald's shares, which have risen 5 percent since announcing second-quarter results in July, were up 6 cents to $75.19 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein, additional reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon and Gerald E. McCormick)