US Dividend Payments Make Strong Start to 2013

Dividend payments from US-listed companies totalled US$14.5bn during the first quarter of 2013, according to data issued by S&P Dow Jones Indices. The figure, excluding special and bonus dividends, suggests full-year dividend payments could break the record set in 2012.

During Q113, a total 944 dividend increases were reported, a 39.4% increase from the 677 dividend increases reported during the same period last year. Of the approximately 10,000 US traded issues, only 139 companies decreased dividends.

For the full 12 month period to March 2013, there were 3,154 dividend increases compared with 2,120 increases in the previous 12 months. There were just 389 dividend reductions.

“Dividends continued to increase in the first quarter with actual cash payments increasing 12% and the forward indicated dividend rate reaching a new all-time high,” said  Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “At this point, 2013 will easily surpass the 2012 record dividend payment, which speaks to the growth of dividends since 2012 payments included accelerated payments from 2013.

“The dividend cycle is solidly back on the upward track, with both investors and companies viewing them positively. While growth is slower than the initial 2011-12 recovery period, it is broad across sectors and has support from both investors and companies.”

Within the large-cap S&P 500 universe, 406 companies or 81.2% of its members were dividend payers, a level not seen since November 1999. All 30 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average were dividend payers.

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