Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 5, 2017

We're going to stick with just the facts in our roundup of this past month's market dividend news! The following chart shows the ongoing evolution of either dividend increase announcements or dividend cut announcements from January 2004 through November 2017.

Number of Public U.S. Companies Announcing Increasing or Decreasing Dividends, 
January 2004 through November 2017

Let's get to the numbers! In November 2017...

  • 3,518 U.S. companies declared dividends, up from the 3,077 that did so in the previous month, but more importantly, up significantly from the 3,297 that announced their dividend plans in November 2016.
  • There were 109 U.S. firms that announced that they would be paying a special, or extra, dividend payment to their shareholders. That figure was up from the 41 that made a similar announcement in October 2017, and up significantly fromt he 93 that announced they would pay out an extra dividend during November 2016.
  • 185 publicly-traded companies in the U.S. indicated that they would be increasing their dividends, about the same as the 184 that did the same in October 2017 and also the 189 that did in November a year ago.
  • Just 22 firms announced they would cut their dividends, up slightly from the 19 that did in October 2017, but down notably from the 29 that did a year earlier.
  • 6 companies disclosed that they would omit paying dividends, the same as did in October 2017, but half of the 12 that did in November 2016.

Looking at where there has been some degree of distress in the U.S. economy, as measured by the 20 companies that have either reduced or omitted their dividends during November 2017 in our sampling of dividend cuts announced during the month, we find that the financial firms and real estate investment trusts (8) have taken the lead over oil and gas production firms (6) for the first time this year.

Beyond those two industries, we found 3 chemical industry firms (predominantly agricultural fertilizer producers), 2 software producers and 1 mining outfit that cut their dividends during the month.

Number of Public U.S. Companies Posting Decreasing Dividends, 
January 2004 through November 2017

On the whole, a pretty good month for one of the better indicators of the real-time health of the U.S. economy!

Data Sources

Standard and Poor. S&P Market Attributes Web File. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 1 December 2017.

Seeking Alpha Market Currents. Filtered for Dividends. [Online Database]. Accessed 1 December 2017.

Wall Street Journal. Dividend Declarations. [Online Database]. Accessed 1 December 2017.

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