Dividend Increases Rise More Than 44% in Fourth Quarter to $10.6 Billion, S&P Dow Jones Indices Says

Dividend net increases in the fourth quarter rose more than 44% from the year before to $10.6 billion, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday.The firm said the net increases for domestic common stocks were up from the $7.4 billion in the prior-year period.

Aggregate increases were $11.97 billion in the fourth quarter, 1% higher than the $11.85 billion posted in the same period in 2018, S&P said. Aggregate dividend cuts, meanwhile, fell almost 70% to $1.35 billion from $4.48 billion, the firm said, adding that the fourth quarter of 2018 included a $3.82 billion dividend cut from General Electric (GE).

“US dividends continued upward in Q4 2019 even as the rate of growth slowed from the prior year when companies cited their tax savings in their tax statements,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “2019 dividend payments in the S&P 500 posted their eighth consecutive year of record payments.”

Dividend payments for the S&P 500 rose 7.19% on a per-share basis to a record $15.21 in the fourth quarter from $14.19 the year before, according to S&P. It said on an aggregate basis, index components paid a record $126.4 billion in dividends in the December quarter, up from $119.8 billion.

S&P said for the year, the index paid a record of $56.24 per share, up from $53.75 in 2018. Shareholders received an aggregate $458.4 billion last year, compared with $456.3 billion in 2018, the firm said.

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