Unexpectedly Intriguing!
October 1, 2008

Down and Up Stocks Having just gone through one of the largest one-day point drops in stock market history, an event driven by the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives' leadership to address a building credit crisis in the financial sector of the U.S. economy, one might reasonably expect that the market would have continued to decline as the leadership of the U.S. House then chose to go on a two-day holiday.

Instead, stocks rallied upward sharply on the day following the market carnage in one of the largest recorded one-day gains.

That's partly due to expectations that the U.S. Senate, which continued in session, will take a more responsible approach to addressing the crisis in U.S. credit markets, but is mostly due to the underlying strength of the dividends that support stock prices. Without a corresponding collapse of expected corporate dividend payouts to shareholders, stock prices will not continue to plummet.

That reality is reflected in our chart showing the average of each month's closing value for the S&P 500 from January 2008 onward against the S&P 500's trailing year dividends per share: S&P 500 Average Monthly Index Value vs Trailing Year Dividends per Share, January 2008 through September 2008

In the chart, we see that as the S&P 500's dividends per share have continued to increase, stocks have largely followed a "stair-step" downward path, rather than stalling out altogether or retreating, which is more indicative of a collapsing market.

That may still yet come, depending upon how far the credit crisis affecting the financial sector of the U.S. economy penetrates into the healthier sectors of the U.S. economy. Since we're now entering the fourth quarter of 2008, we would expect that we will continue that forward progression, as Standard & Poor continues to indicate that the trailing year dividends per share for the S&P 500 in 2008 will be $30.30, the value they've anticipated all year.

At this point, that forward progression is being driven by firming commitments from companies on track to deliver these dividend performance targets to their shareholders. Since those commitments would only extend through the end of this year, we would anticipate that January 2009 will see the bulk of companies revising their forward outlooks to less optimistic outcomes, should the problems of the financial sector spread into the rest of the U.S. economy.

How much that is, remains to be seen. As for the strength of the non-financial sectors of the U.S. economy, we've created a dynamic table showing all the changes in corporate dividends recorded through August 2008, which we've extracted from S&P's Issue Indicated Dividend Rate Change spreadsheet to demonstrate how relatively contained the finacial sector's problems have been to date. You can sort the data from low-to-high value, or vice-versa, by clicking the column headings. Enjoy!

Changes in S&P 500 Company Dividends, January 2008 Through August 2008
Company Ticker Month of Action Type of Action Old Value New Value Percentage Change Industry Sector
3M Co MMM FEB INCREASE 1.92 2.00 4.17% Industrials
Abbott Laboratories ABT FEB INCREASE 1.30 1.44 10.77% Health Care
ACE Limited ACE MAY INCREASE 1.08 1.16 7.41% Financials
AFLAC Inc AFL JAN INCREASE 0.82 0.96 17.07% Financials
Air Products & Chem APD MAR INCREASE 1.52 1.76 15.79% Materials
AK Steel Holding AKS JUL INITIAL 0.00 0.20 N/A Materials
Allegheny Energy AYE FEB INITIAL 0.00 0.60 N/A Utilities
Allstate Corp ALL FEB INCREASE 1.52 1.64 7.89% Financials
Altera Corp ALTR APR INCREASE 0.16 0.20 25.00% Information Technology
Altria Group MO MAR DECREASE 3.00 1.16 -61.33% Consumer Staples
Altria Group MO AUG INCREASE 1.16 1.28 10.34% Consumer Staples
Amer Capital Ltd ACAS SEP INCREASE 3.51 4.09 16.52% Financials
Ambac Financial Group ABK JAN DECREASE 0.84 0.28 -66.67% Financials
Ambac Financial Group ABK MAR DECREASE 0.28 0.04 -85.71% Financials
Amer Intl Group AIG MAY INCREASE 0.80 0.88 10.00% Financials
Amer Intl Group AIG SEP SUSPENSION 0.88 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Ameriprise Financial AMP JUL INCREASE 0.60 0.68 13.33% Financials
Analog Devices ADI MAY INCREASE 0.72 0.80 11.11% Information Technology
Anheuser-Busch Cos BUD JUL INCREASE 1.32 1.48 12.12% Consumer Staples
Archer-Daniels-Midland ADM FEB INCREASE 0.46 0.52 13.04% Consumer Staples
Assurant Inc AIZ MAY INCREASE 0.48 0.56 16.67% Financials
AvalonBay Communities AVB FEB INCREASE 3.40 3.57 5.00% Financials
Avon Products AVP FEB INCREASE 0.74 0.80 8.11% Consumer Staples
Bard (C.R.) BCR JUN INCREASE 0.60 0.64 6.67% Health Care
Baker Hughes Inc BHI JUL INCREASE 0.52 0.60 15.38% Energy
BB&T Corp BBT JUN INCREASE 1.84 1.88 2.17% Financials
Bear Stearns Cos BSC MAR SUSPENSION 1.28 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Bemis Co BMS JAN INCREASE 0.84 0.88 4.76% Materials
Best Buy BBY JUN INCREASE 0.52 0.56 7.69% Consumer Discretionary
Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY MAR INCREASE 1.12 1.24 10.71% Health Care
Burlington Northern Santa Fe BNI JUL INCREASE 1.28 1.60 25.00% Industrials
Capital One Financial COF JAN INCREASE 0.11 1.50 1263.64% Financials
Cardinal Health CAH MAY INCREASE 0.48 0.56 16.67% Health Care
Caterpillar Inc CAT JUN INCREASE 1.44 1.68 16.67% Industrials
CBS Corp 'B' CBS APR INCREASE 1.00 1.08 8.00% Consumer Discretionary
CenterPoint Energy CNP JAN INCREASE 0.68 0.73 7.35% Utilities
CenturyTel Inc CTL FEB INCREASE 0.26 0.27 3.85% Telecommunication Services
CenturyTel Inc CTL JUL INCREASE 0.27 2.80 937.04% Telecommunication Services
Chesapeake Energy CHK JUN INCREASE 0.27 0.30 11.11% Energy
Chevron Corp CVX MAY INCREASE 2.32 2.60 12.07% Energy
Chubb Corp CB MAR INCREASE 1.16 1.32 13.79% Financials
Cincinnati Financial CINF FEB INCREASE 1.42 1.56 9.86% Financials
Cintas Corp CTAS JAN INCREASE 0.39 0.46 17.95% Industrials
CIT Group CIT APR DECREASE 1.00 0.40 -60.00% Financials
Citigroup Inc C JAN DECREASE 2.16 1.28 -40.74% Financials
Clorox Co CLX MAY INCREASE 1.60 1.84 15.00% Consumer Staples
CME Group Inc CME FEB INCREASE 3.44 4.60 33.72% Financials
CMS Energy CMS JAN INCREASE 0.20 0.36 80.00% Utilities
Coca-Cola Co KO FEB INCREASE 1.36 1.52 11.76% Consumer Staples
Coca-Cola Enterprises CCE FEB INCREASE 0.24 0.28 16.67% Consumer Staples
Colgate-Palmolive CL FEB INCREASE 1.44 1.60 11.11% Consumer Staples
Comcast Cl 'A' CMCSA FEB INITIAL 0.00 0.25 N/A Consumer Discretionary
Comerica Inc CMA JAN INCREASE 2.56 2.64 3.13% Financials
Comerica Inc CMA SEP DECREASE 2.64 1.32 -50.00% Financials
ConocoPhillips COP FEB INCREASE 1.64 1.88 14.63% Energy
Consolidated Edison ED JAN INCREASE 2.32 2.34 0.86% Utilities
Constellation Energy Grou CEG JAN INCREASE 1.74 1.91 9.77% Utilities
Cooper Indus 'A' CBE FEB INCREASE 0.84 1.00 19.05% Industrials
Costco Wholesale COST APR INCREASE 0.58 0.64 10.34% Consumer Staples
CSX Corp CSX MAR INCREASE 0.60 0.72 20.00% Industrials
CSX Corp CSX JUN INCREASE 0.72 0.88 22.22% Industrials
CVS Caremark Corp CVS JUL INCREASE 0.24 0.28 15.00% Consumer Staples
Cummins Inc CMI JUL INCREASE 0.50 0.70 40.00% Industrials
D.R.Horton DHI MAY DECREASE 0.60 0.30 -50.00% Consumer Discretionary
Darden Restaurants DRI JUN INCREASE 0.72 0.80 11.11% Consumer Discretionary
Deere & Co DE MAY INCREASE 1.00 1.12 12.00% Industrials
Developers Diversified Rl DDR JAN INCREASE 2.64 2.76 4.55% Financials
Devon Energy DVN MAR INCREASE 0.56 0.64 14.29% Energy
Dover Corp DOV AUG INCREASE 0.80 1.00 25.00% Industrials
Duke Energy DUK JAN INCREASE 0.84 0.88 4.76% Utilities
Duke Energy DUK JUN INCREASE 0.88 0.92 4.55% Utilities
Eaton Corp ETN JAN INCREASE 1.72 2.00 16.28% Industrials
El Paso Corp EP JUL INCREASE 0.16 0.20 25.00% Energy
Embarq Corp EQ JAN INCREASE 2.50 2.75 10.00% Telecommunication Services
EOG Resources EOG FEB INCREASE 0.36 0.48 33.33% Energy
EOG Resources EOG JUL INCREASE 0.48 0.54 12.50% Energy
Expeditors Intl,Wash EXPD MAY INCREASE 0.28 0.32 14.29% Industrials
Exxon Mobil XOM APR INCREASE 1.40 1.60 14.29% Energy
Family Dollar Stores FDO JAN INCREASE 0.46 0.50 8.70% Consumer Discretionary
Federal Home Loan FRE AUG DECREASE 1.00 0.20 -80.00% Financials
Federal Home Loan FRE SEP SUSPENSION 1.00 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Federal Natl Mtge FNM MAY DECREASE 1.40 1.00 -28.57% Financials
Federal Natl Mtge FNM SEP SUSPENSION 0.20 0.00 -100.00% Financials
FedEx Corp FDX JUN INCREASE 0.40 0.44 10.00% Industrials
Federated Investors 'B' FII APR INCREASE 0.84 0.96 14.29% Financials
Fifth Third Bancorp FITB JUN DECREASE 1.76 0.60 -65.91% Financials
First Horizon Natl FHN JAN DECREASE 1.80 0.80 -55.56% Financials
First Horizon Natl FHN JUL SUSPENSION 0.80 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Fluor Corp FLR JAN INCREASE 0.80 1.00 25.00% Industrials
Fortune Brands FO JUL INCREASE 1.68 1.76 4.76% Consumer Discretionary
FPL Group FPL FEB INCREASE 1.64 1.78 8.54% Utilities
Gap Inc GPS FEB INCREASE 0.32 0.34 6.25% Consumer Discretionary
Genl Dynamics GD MAR INCREASE 1.16 1.40 20.69% Industrials
Genl Mills GIS MAR INCREASE 1.56 1.60 2.56% Consumer Staples
Genl Mills GIS JUN INCREASE 1.60 1.72 7.50% Consumer Staples
Genl Motors GM JUL SUSPENSION 1.00 0.00 -100.00% Consumer Discretionary
Genuine Parts GPC FEB INCREASE 1.46 1.56 6.85% Consumer Discretionary
Grainger (W.W.) GWW APR INCREASE 1.40 1.60 14.29% Industrials
H & R Block HRB JUN INCREASE 0.57 0.60 5.26% Consumer Discretionary
Harley-Davidson HOG APR INCREASE 1.20 1.32 10.00% Consumer Discretionary
Hasbro Inc HAS FEB INCREASE 0.64 0.80 25.00% Consumer Discretionary
Heinz (H.J.) HNZ MAY INCREASE 1.52 1.66 9.21% Consumer Staples
Honeywell Intl HON FEB INCREASE 1.00 1.10 10.00% Industrials
Hudson City Bancorp HCBK JAN INCREASE 0.34 0.36 5.88% Financials
Hudson City Bancorp HCBK APR INCREASE 0.36 0.44 22.22% Financials
Hudson City Bancorp HCBK JUL INCREASE 0.44 0.48 9.09% Financials
Huntington Bancshares HBAN APR DECREASE 1.06 0.53 -50.00% Financials
Illinois Tool Works ITW AUG INCREASE 1.12 1.24 10.71% Industrials
Integrys Energy Group TEG FEB INCREASE 2.64 2.68 1.52% Utilities
Intel Corp INTC MAR INCREASE 0.51 0.56 9.80% Information Technology
Intl Bus. Machines IBM APR INCREASE 1.60 2.00 25.00% Information Technology
Intl Game Technology IGT AUG INCREASE 0.56 0.58 3.57% Consumer Discretionary
Intl Flavors/Fragr IFF JUL INCREASE 0.92 1.00 8.70% Materials
ITT Corp ITT FEB INCREASE 0.56 0.70 25.00% Industrials
Johnson & Johnson JNJ APR INCREASE 1.66 1.84 10.84% Health Care
Kellogg Co K APR INCREASE 1.24 1.36 10.00% Consumer Staples
KeyCorp KEY JUN DECREASE 1.50 0.75 -50.00% Financials
Kimberly-Clark KMB FEB INCREASE 2.12 2.32 9.43% Consumer Staples
Kimco Realty KIM JUL INCREASE 1.60 1.76 10.00% Financials
Kraft Foods 'A' KFT SEP INCREASE 1.08 1.16 7.41% Consumer Staples
Kroger Co KR MAR INCREASE 0.30 0.36 20.00% Consumer Staples
L-3 Communications Hldgs LLL FEB INCREASE 1.00 1.20 20.00% Industrials
Lehman Br Holdings LEH JAN INCREASE 0.60 0.68 13.33% Financials
Lehman Br Holdings LEH SEP DECREASE 0.68 0.05 -92.65% Financials
Lehman Br Holdings LEH SEP DECREASE 0.05 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Linear Technology Corp LLTC JAN INCREASE 0.72 0.84 16.67% Information Technology
Liz Claiborne LIZ MAY INCREASE 0.23 0.23 2.22% Consumer Discretionary
Lowe's Cos LOW JUN INCREASE 0.32 0.34 6.25% Consumer Discretionary
Macy's Inc M MAY INCREASE 0.52 0.53 1.92% Consumer Discretionary
Marriott Intl 'A' MAR MAY INCREASE 0.30 0.35 16.67% Consumer Discretionary
Marsh & McLennan MMC JAN INCREASE 0.76 0.80 5.26% Financials
Marshall & Ilsley MI APR INCREASE 1.24 1.28 3.23% Financials
Masco Corp MAS SEP INCREASE 0.92 0.94 2.17% Industrials
MBIA Inc MBI FEB SUSPENSION 0.52 0.00 -100.00% Financials
MBIA Inc MBI JAN DECREASE 1.36 0.52 -61.76% Financials
McGraw-Hill Companies MHP JAN INCREASE 0.82 0.88 7.32% Consumer Discretionary
McKesson Corp MCK MAY INCREASE 0.24 0.48 100.00% Health Care
Medtronic, Inc MDT JUN INCREASE 0.50 0.75 50.00% Health Care
Meredith Corp MDP FEB INCREASE 0.74 0.86 16.22% Consumer Discretionary
Microchip Technology MCHP JAN INCREASE 1.24 1.28 3.23% Information Technology
Microchip Technology MCHP APR INCREASE 1.28 1.32 3.13% Information Technology
Microchip Technology MCHP JUL INCREASE 1.32 1.35 2.42% Information Technology
Microsoft Corp MSFT SEP INCREASE 0.44 0.52 18.18% Information Technology
Molex Inc MOLX AUG INCREASE 0.45 0.61 35.56% Information Technology
Molson Coors Brewing 'B' TAP MAY INCREASE 0.64 0.80 25.00% Consumer Staples
Monsanto Co MON JUN INCREASE 0.70 0.96 37.14% Materials
Murphy Oil MUR AUG INCREASE 0.75 1.00 33.33% Energy
Natl City Corp NCC JAN DECREASE 1.64 0.84 -48.78% Financials
Natl City Corp NCC APR DECREASE 0.84 0.04 -95.24% Financials
Noble Energy NBL APR INCREASE 0.48 0.72 50.00% Energy
Nordstrom, Inc JWN FEB INCREASE 0.54 0.64 18.52% Consumer Discretionary
Norfolk Southern NSC JAN INCREASE 1.04 1.16 11.54% Industrials
Norfolk Southern NSC JUL INCREASE 1.16 1.28 10.34% Industrials
Northrop Grumman NOC APR INCREASE 1.48 1.60 8.11% Industrials
Nucor Corp NUE FEB INCREASE 1.20 1.28 6.67% Materials
NYSE Euronext NYX MAR INCREASE 1.00 1.20 20.00% Financials
Occidental Petroleum OXY MAY INCREASE 1.00 1.28 28.00% Energy
Pall Corp PLL MAR INCREASE 0.48 0.52 8.33% Industrials
Parker-Hannifin PH AUG INCREASE 0.84 1.00 19.05% Industrials
Paychex Inc PAYX JUL INCREASE 1.20 1.24 3.33% Information Technology
Pepco Holdings POM JAN INCREASE 1.04 1.08 3.85% Utilities
Pepsi Bottling Group PBG MAR INCREASE 0.56 0.68 21.43% Consumer Staples
PepsiCo Inc PEP MAY INCREASE 1.50 1.70 13.33% Consumer Staples
PG&E Corp PCG FEB INCREASE 1.44 1.56 8.33% Utilities
Philip Morris Intl PM AUG INCREASE 1.84 2.16 17.39% Consumer Staples
PNC Financial Services Gr PNC APR INCREASE 2.52 2.64 4.76% Financials
PPL Corp PPL FEB INCREASE 1.22 1.34 9.84% Utilities
Praxair Inc PX JAN INCREASE 1.20 1.50 25.00% Materials
Procter & Gamble PG APR INCREASE 1.40 1.60 14.29% Consumer Staples
Progressive Corp, Ohio PGR JAN INCREASE 0.04 0.15 275.00% Financials
ProLogis PLD FEB INCREASE 1.84 2.07 12.50% Financials
Public Storage PSA FEB INCREASE 2.00 2.20 10.00% Financials
Public Svc Enterprises PEG JAN INCREASE 2.34 2.58 10.26% Utilities
QUALCOMM Inc QCOM APR INCREASE 0.56 0.64 14.29% Information Technology
Raytheon Co RTN MAR INCREASE 1.02 1.12 9.80% Industrials
Regions Financial RF JUL DECREASE 1.52 0.40 -73.68% Financials
Robert Half Intl RHI FEB INCREASE 0.40 0.44 10.00% Industrials
Rockwell Collins COL APR INCREASE 0.64 0.96 50.00% Industrials
Rohm & Haas ROH MAY INCREASE 1.48 1.64 10.81% Materials
Ryder System R FEB INCREASE 0.84 0.92 9.52% Industrials
Safeway Inc SWY MAY INCREASE 0.28 0.33 20.00% Consumer Staples
Schlumberger Ltd SLB JAN INCREASE 0.70 0.84 20.00% Energy
Schwab (Charles) Corp SCHW JUL INCREASE 0.20 0.24 20.00% Financials
Scripps Networks Interact SNI JUL INITIAL 0.00 0.30 N/A Consumer Discretionary
Sealed Air SEE FEB INCREASE 0.40 0.48 20.00% Materials
Sempra Energy SRE FEB INCREASE 1.24 1.28 3.23% Utilities
Sempra Energy SRE MAY INCREASE 1.28 1.40 9.38% Utilities
Sherwin-Williams SHW FEB INCREASE 1.26 1.40 11.11% Consumer Discretionary
Sigma-Aldrich SIAL FEB INCREASE 0.46 0.52 13.04% Materials
Simon Property Group SPG FEB INCREASE 3.36 3.60 7.14% Financials
Smith Intl SII FEB INCREASE 0.40 0.48 20.00% Energy
Southern Co SO APR INCREASE 1.61 1.68 4.35% Utilities
Sovereign Bancorp SOV JAN SUSPENSION 0.32 0.00 -100.00% Financials
Spectra Energy SE JAN INCREASE 0.88 0.92 4.55% Energy
Spectra Energy SE JUL INCREASE 0.92 1.00 8.70% Energy
Sprint Nextel Corp S FEB SUSPENSION 0.10 0.00 -100.00% Telecommunication Services
Stanley Works SWK JUL INCREASE 1.24 1.28 3.23% Consumer Discretionary
Staples Inc SPLS MAR INCREASE 0.29 0.33 13.79% Consumer Discretionary
State Street Corp STT JUN INCREASE 0.92 0.96 4.35% Financials
SunTrust Banks STI FEB INCREASE 2.92 3.08 5.48% Financials
Sunoco Inc SUN FEB INCREASE 1.10 1.20 9.09% Energy
Supervalu Inc SVU MAY INCREASE 0.68 0.69 1.47% Consumer Staples
Target Corp TGT JUN INCREASE 0.56 0.64 14.29% Consumer Discretionary
TECO Energy TE APR INCREASE 0.78 0.80 2.56% Utilities
Texas Instruments TXN SEP INCREASE 0.40 0.44 10.00% Information Technology
Tiffany & Co TIF MAY INCREASE 0.60 0.68 13.33% Consumer Discretionary
Titanium Metals TIE FEB INITIAL 0.00 0.30 N/A Materials
TJX Companies TJX APR INCREASE 0.36 0.44 22.22% Consumer Discretionary
Torchmark Corp TMK FEB INCREASE 0.52 0.56 7.69% Financials
Travelers Cos TRV MAY INCREASE 1.16 1.20 3.45% Financials
Tyco Electronics TEL SEP INCREASE 0.56 0.64 14.29% Information Technology
Tyco Intl TYC SEP INCREASE 0.60 0.80 33.33% Industrials
U.S. Steel X JAN INCREASE 0.80 1.00 25.00% Materials
U.S. Steel X JUL INCREASE 1.00 1.20 20.00% Materials
Union Pacific UNP JUL INCREASE 0.88 1.08 22.73% Industrials
United Parcel 'B' UPS JAN INCREASE 1.68 1.80 7.14% Industrials
UST Inc UST FEB INCREASE 2.40 2.52 5.00% Consumer Staples
Valero Energy VLO MAY INCREASE 0.48 0.60 25.00% Energy
Verizon Communications VZ SEP INCREASE 1.72 1.84 6.98% Telecommunication Services
Vulcan Materials VMC FEB INCREASE 1.84 1.96 6.52% Materials
Wachovia Corp WB APR DECREASE 2.56 1.50 -41.41% Financials
Wachovia Corp WB JUL DECREASE 1.50 0.20 -86.67% Financials
Wal-Mart Stores WMT MAR INCREASE 0.88 0.95 7.95% Consumer Staples
Walgreen Co WAG JUL INCREASE 0.38 0.45 18.42% Consumer Staples
Washington Mutual WM APR DECREASE 0.60 0.04 -93.33% Financials
Washington Post 'B' WPO JAN INCREASE 8.20 8.60 4.88% Consumer Discretionary
Waste Management WMI FEB INCREASE 0.96 1.08 12.50% Industrials
Wells Fargo WFC JUL INCREASE 1.24 1.36 9.68% Financials
Whole Foods Market WFMI AUG SUSPENSION 0.80 0.00 -100.00% Consumer Staples
Williams Cos WMB MAY INCREASE 0.40 0.44 10.00% Energy
Wrigley, (Wm) Jr WWY FEB INCREASE 1.16 1.34 15.52% Consumer Staples
Xcel Energy XEL MAY INCREASE 0.92 0.95 3.26% Utilities
Xilinx Inc XLNX FEB INCREASE 0.48 0.56 16.67% Information Technology
Yum Brands YUM MAY INCREASE 0.60 0.76 26.67% Consumer Discretionary

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