Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 1, 2016

While we're waiting for S&P's official tally of all the dividend cut declarations made in February 2016, which should be posted sometime later today, we thought we'd get a jump on what to expect by extracting a sample of the dividend cuts that our primary sources for real-time dividend cut announcements recorded during February 2016 to get a sense of that report is likely to indicate.

The picture isn't good - the pace of dividend cuts during the current quarter of 2016-Q1 has now exceeded the level seen at this same point of time a year earlier. What makes this especially bad news is that year ago quarter, 2015-Q1, was the worst quarter for dividend cuts in all of 2015.

Cumulative Announced Dividend Cuts in U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2015-Q1 versus 2016-Q1

The table below summarizes the data we've collected on the individual dividend cuts that we were able to sample throughout February 2016. The link for the company name will take you to the respective announcement or declaration, while clicking the stock ticker symbol will take you to the company's latest stock price quotes.

Sampling of February 2016 Dividend Cut Announcements and Declarations
Date Company (Ticker) Old Dividend
per Share
New Dividend
per Share
Percent
Change
1 Feb 2016 PDL BioPharma (NASDAQ: PDLI) $0.15 $0.05 -66.7%
2 Feb 2016 Twin Disc (NASDAQ: TWIN) $0.09 $0.00 -100.0%
2 Feb 2016 Rent-A-Center (NYSE: RCII) $0.24 $0.08 -66.7%
3 Feb 2016 Apollo Global Management (NYSE: APO) $0.35 $0.28 -20.0%
3 Feb 2016 ECA Marcellus Trust I (NYSE: ECT) $0.07 $0.07 -8.3%
3 Feb 2016 Northern Tier Energy (NYSE: NTI) $1.04 $0.38 -63.5%
4 Feb 2016 ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) $0.74 $0.25 -66.2%
4 Feb 2016 Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (NYSE: CHKR) $0.32 $0.22 -32.1%
4 Feb 2016 Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) $0.15 $0.08 -50.0%
4 Feb 2016 Sabine Royalty Trust (NYSE: SBR) $0.28 $0.13 -51.6%
5 Feb 2016 Ardmore Shipping Corporation (NYSE: ASC) $0.31 $0.13 -58.1%
8 Feb 2016 Bristow (NYSE: BRS) $0.34 $0.07 -79.4%
9 Feb 2016 Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) $0.27 $0.05 -81.5%
10 Feb 2016 Alon USA Partners (NYSE: ALDW) $0.98 $0.08 -91.8%
11 Feb 2016 Precision Drilling (NYSE: PDS) $0.07 $0.00 -100.0%
11 Feb 2016 Carlyle Group (NYSE: CG) $0.56 $0.29 -48.2%
11 Feb 2016 Energen (NYSE: EGN) $0.02 $0.00 -100.0%
12 Feb 2016 KKR (NYSE: KKR) $0.35 $0.16 -54.3%
16 Feb 2016 Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN) $0.24 $0.06 -75.0%
17 Feb 2016 Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM) $0.10 $0.00 -100.0%
17 Feb 2016 Rentech Nitrogen Partners (NYSE: RNF) $0.25 $0.10 -60.0%
18 Feb 2016 CVR Partners (NYSE: UAN) $0.39 $0.27 -30.8%
19 Feb 2016 Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY) $0.02 $0.01 -66.7%
19 Feb 2016 GAMCO Investors CL A (NYSE: GBL) $0.07 $0.02 -71.4%
22 Feb 2016 Cross Timbers Royalty Trust (NYSE: CRT) $0.17 $0.07 -57.3%
22 Feb 2016 Enduro Royalty Trust (NYSE: NDRO) $0.03 $0.02 -18.5%
22 Feb 2016 Magic Software (NASDAQ: MGIC) $0.10 $0.09 -5.3%
22 Feb 2016 Enerplus Corp (NYSE: ERF) $0.03 $0.01 -66.7%
22 Feb 2016 First Potomac Realty Trust (NYSE: FPO) $0.60 $0.40 -33.3%
22 Feb 2016 Mesa Royalty Trust (NYSE: MTR) $0.05 $0.02 -48.4%
23 Feb 2016 Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC) $0.11 $0.08 -24.5%
23 Feb 2016 Extended Stay America (NYSE: STAY) $0.19 $0.17 -10.5%
24 Feb 2016 Tronox (NYSE: TROX) $0.25 $0.05 -82.0%
25 Feb 2016 Newtek Business Services (NASDAQ: NEWT) $0.40 $0.35 -12.5%
25 Feb 2016 Northstar Realty Finance Corp (NYSE: NRF) $0.75 $0.40 -46.7%
25 Feb 2016 Gulf Island Fabrication (NYSE: GIFI) $0.10 $0.01 -90.0%
25 Feb 2016 PHX Energy Services (NYSE: PHXHF) $0.01 $0.00 -100.0%
26 Feb 2016 Acacia Research (NASDAQ: ACTG) $0.13 $0.00 -100.0%
29 Feb 2016 Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE: GPT) $0.18 $0.11 -40.2%
29 Feb 2016 NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) $0.15 $0.03 -79.3%
29 Feb 2016 Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) $0.04 $0.02 -50.0%
29 Feb 2016 Golar LNG (NASDAQ: GLNG) $0.45 $0.05 -88.9%

In the table above, there are 42 dividend cut declarations or announcements listed, where the 19 shaded rows indicate firms that directly produce oil and gas products. Unlike January 2016, when we counted 18 oil and gas-producing firms out of a total of 22 dividend cutting firms in our sample for that month, February's dividend cut announcements represent a growing dispersion of distress within the overall U.S. economy. The chart below illustrates the number of dividend cuts by industrial sector in our sample for February 2016.

Pareto Chart - Dividend Cuts by Industrial Sector, February 2016

It's a good thing that even during a leap year, February is the shortest month of the year. It was a month in which dividend cuts were recorded on every single day that the markets were open.

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