Moody’s Boosts Dividend as Global Bond Offerings Approach Record

Moody’s Corp. (MCO), the second-largest credit-rating company, boosted its dividend by 25 percent as companies taking advantage of record-low interest rates by issuing bonds increase demand for its grades.

The company will pay 20 cents a share March 11 to holders as of Feb. 20, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The shares have increased 46 percent this year to $49.16 today, compared with the 13.5 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Companies worldwide are selling almost unprecedented amounts of debt as the Federal Reserve anticipates it will keep its interest-rate benchmark near zero through at least mid-2015 and after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do whatever’s necessary to protect the euro amid the region’s fiscal crisis.

Corporate bond sales of $3.84 trillion globally are approaching the $3.89 trillion record from 2009 with three weeks remaining in 2012. Dollar-denominated corporate bond issuance of $1.43 trillion this year is up from $1.13 trillion in 2011 and surpassed the previous record of $1.24 trillion in 2009, Bloomberg data show.

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