Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool is showing signs of confidence in its upcoming first-quarter financial results. Those will be released later this month on Friday, April 25. The board of directors for the world's largest appliance maker declared a 20% increase in the quarterly dividend on the company's common stock this week, pushing that up to 75 cents a share from 62.5 cents. It is payable to stockholders of record at the close of business on May 16. Whirlpool directors this week also approved a stock repurchase program of $500 million dollars, which follows the completion in December of a previous buyback authorization. In a statement, chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig said the moves this week "underscore our confidence in our long-term growth and innovation strategies and expected strong performance in 2014."
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