Ford may get a longer look from curious investors after rolling out a more muscular, souped-up dividend on Thursday.

The nation's No. 2 automaker is doubling its quarterly payout to 10 cents, just nine months after paying its first dividend in more than five years.

The dividend increase marks another milestone in Ford's comeback. It has strengthened its image with customers along with its balance sheet. Ford is expected to report its fourth consecutive annual profit when it releases earnings in a few weeks. In 2011, the company posted its largest profit since 1998.

Analysts who cover Ford Motor Co. quickly raised their expectations for the stock, saying the higher dividend could make it more attractive to investors. Ford shares rose 2.7 percent to $13.83 Thursday, their highest closing price since July 2011.