Stock Market News for Comcast, Alcoa, and Altria

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Today’s market news includes Comcast deploying in Philly, Alcoa begins upgrades to a dam, and Altria Group boosts its dividend.

The largest cable MSO (Multiple System Operator) in the U.S., Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is all set to deploy switched digital video (SDV) in its hometown, Philadelphia, using Motorola Inc. (NYSE:MOT) devices. Earlier in June, Comcast stated in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing that it will abide by the agency’s SDV policy and will start rolling-out SDV from the second half of 2010 and more aggressively in 2011. SDV technology distributes digital video content through cable network in a cost-effective manner so that additional activities can be performed using the free bandwidth. SDV will enable Comcast to send a multicast stream of a 3DTV channel when a customer in a given service group select it for viewing. Comcast is aggressively reclaiming 40 to 50 of its existing analog channels to free up spectrum for DOCSIS 3.0 technology. Deployment of SDV will also free up bandwidth that can be used by Comcast to offer more than 150 high-definition TV channels (HDTV), HD video-on-demand programs and DOCSIS 3.0. – Zacks

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) said Friday that it started a $110 million project to modernize one its hydroelectric dams in North Carolina. The upgrade will increase the Cheoah Dam's efficiency and energy output and increase the life of the dam by at least another 40 years to 50 years, Alcoa said. The Cheoah Dam is one of four dams that make up Alcoa Power Generating Inc.'s Tapoco Project. The first phase of the project will include upgrades of two of the dam's five power generation units. Another two units will be upgraded during second phase of the project and will increase Cheoah's total capacity to 140 megawatts and add 40 to 50 years of life to the facility. Alcoa won a $12.95 million grant from the Energy Department for the dam's modernization.  - AP

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO) said Friday its board voted to increase the company's quarterly dividend 3 cents to 38 cents per share. The dividend is payable Oct. 12 to shareholders of record on Sept. 15. Altria Group, based in Richmond, Va., is the owner of Philip Morris USA and makes Marlboro cigarettes and other tobacco products.  Shares were down 6 cents to $22.55 in afternoon trading. – AP

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