Mattel Stock Surges After Toymaker Boosts its Dividend: Los Angeles Mover

Mattel Inc. (MAT), the world’s largest toymaker, rose the most in five months after increasing its dividend and reporting fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

The manufacturer of the Barbie brand advanced 5 percent to $31 at 4 p.m. in New York. That’s the largest gain since Aug. 9 and the highest price since Dec. 8, 1998.

Mattel boosted its quarterly dividend by 35 percent to 31 cents a share from 23 cents, the El Segundo, California-based company said today in a statement. Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 14 percent to $370.6 million, or $1.07 a share, from $325.2 million, or 89 cents a year earlier. Analysts projected $1, the average of 13 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company also increased prices in the mid-single digits this month to help combat the rising costs of plastic, labor and transportation that narrowed profit margins last year. Gross margin, or the percentage of sales left after cost of goods, declined 0.3 percentage points in 2011 to 50.2 percent.

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