Santa Clara, California’s Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT – $37.72) said its Board of Directors has approved a five percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend from $0.20 to $0.21 per share. The dividend is payable on June 13, 2019 to shareholders of record as of May 23, 2019. The annualized yield on the new rate will be 2.3%. According to a statement by AMAT’s CEO: “The dividend increase reflects our ongoing commitment to return capital to shareholders while investing in the future growth of the company”. The quarterly cash dividend is a key part of Applied’s capital allocation strategy. In the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the company returned $942 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases and had about $3.6 billion remaining in its share buyback authorization at the end of the period. Shares can remain an aggressive consideration for long-term price appreciation for those willing to participate in the cyclical semiconductor equipment space.